TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Six Taiwan schools and universities signed cooperation agreements with schools in the Republic of the Marshall Islands on Tuesday (Nov. 14) to mark the beginning of a new education alliance.
The agreements were signed between the six Taiwan parties and representatives of the Marshall Islands' Jaluit High and Woja Elementary schools. The Taiwan representatives gathered for a meeting at the Legislative Yuan, where roughly 200 were in attendance, while the Marshallese signees attended remotely.
The acting foreign minister of the Marshall Islands Casten Nemra also joined the event remotely and said the cooperation opens up significant opportunities for both countries. “This includes training new students, teachers, enhancing the quality of education in our countries,” he said.
Ambassador of the Marshall Islands Anjanette Kattil was at the signing in Taipei and said she was delighted to see six agreements signed, with hopes for more in the future. “This commitment will enable us to elevate the quality of education, while promoting friendship understanding for regional prosperity,” the ambassador said.
Kattil said one key goal of her ambassadorship was to “increase mutual understanding with this beautiful country through educational and cultural exchange,” which the agreements appear to have already achieved. Chiayi’s Fu Jen Catholic High School signed an agreement with Jaluit High School, and teacher Chen Yi-ju (陳怡如) told Taiwan News her students now know more about the Marshall Islands.
Chen said that before the agreements, her students mostly knew nothing about the country, which is a formal diplomatic ally of Taiwan. She said that after engaging with the school and learning about the Marshalls in preparation for signing, her students are now very interested in the Pacific state, and are eager to learn more.
Ambassador Kattil receives a gift from a Taiwan student representative on Wednesday. (Taiwan News photo)
The agreements were signed as part of the inauguration of the Global International Educational Exchange Major Alliance (GIEEMA), established to promote international educational exchange. Alliance Chair Brandon K.C. Chang (張坤池) said the agreements mark the start of the group's work, which it plans to continue with a Taiwan-Africa higher education forum later in November, and a 60-country forum at the U.N. in 2024.
A group of newly arrived Marshallese students in Taiwan were also in attendance at the signing. The group of roughly 15 students has been in Taiwan for about three months, and are completing their first year of university studies with Mandarin language training, before choosing a major and spending three further years in Taiwan.
Ambassador Kattil noted her pride in the students, and said she hopes to see more come to Taiwan to study in the future.