Former WHO adviser from France receives Taiwan passport

South Korean taekwondo coach and Italian documentary maker also among five new Taiwanese

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French blood plasma expert Thierry Burnouf (left) is one of five new Taiwanese 

French blood plasma expert Thierry Burnouf (left) is one of five new Taiwanese  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A former adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) from France was one of five foreign residents who received a Taiwan passport Tuesday (April 28) — but were allowed to hold on to their original citizenship.

Under the program for high-level professionals, which started in 2016, a total of 133 foreigners have been approved for the program, according to data from the Ministry of Interior. The latest batch of five, passed at a meeting Tuesday morning, included two from the field of education, and one each from medicine, culture and sports, CNA reported.

The medical professional was Thierry Burnouf, a world-renowned authority on blood plasma whose work contributed to the fight against Ebola, SARS and H1N1, according to the ministry. He serves as deputy dean of the College of Biomedical Engineering at Taipei Medical University.

Another new Taiwan citizen was a South Korean coach of his nation’s martial art, taekwondo. You Young-dae won a gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, and went on to train Taiwanese practitioners of the sport.

Italian documentary movie director, producer and writer Stefano Centini played an important part in making Taiwanese culture better known among festival and movie audiences overseas, the Ministry of Interior noted.

Recipients of the Taiwan passports, under the scheme for high-level professionals, enjoy full political and social rights, according to the government.