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President meets Taiwan’s President Ma, key ministers at SATU Presidents’ Forum Taiwan


President Irandoust and H.E. Mr. Ma Ying-jeou, President
of Taiwan (left) at the SATÚ Presidents' Forum.

AIT President Said Irandoust visited Taiwan from 9-16 November to take part in the Southeast and South Asia and Taiwan Universities SATU Presidents’ Forum. The event was organized by National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan and the National Taiwan University (NTU) as part of its 80th anniversary celebration in Taipei. AIT has ongoing agreements for academic cooperation and student exchanges with both NCKU and NTU. As part of the visit to Taiwan   and NTU celebration, President Irandoust met numerous high-level officials, university presidents, government ministers, and H.E. Mr. Ma Ying-jeou, President of Taiwan.

During his meeting with the Taiwanese president, President Irandoust highlighted the very significant role that AIT’s Taiwanese alumni have long played in terms of assisting national development efforts of Taiwan, and pointed out the high-level positions that many AIT alumni currently occupy in government, academia and industry. Given Taiwan’s economic prowess and standing in the region, AIT proposed for President Ma’s consideration ways in which Taiwan could further collaborate with AIT such as using the Institute as one of its development or capacity building arms to assist sustainable development efforts in the region. AIT will be preparing a concept note for consideration by the Taiwanese authorities.


Taiwanese Minister of Transportation and Communications
H.E. Dr. Chi-Kuo Mao (right) with AIT President Prof. Said Irandoust.

Later, at a meeting at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the AIT president met with Minister H.E. Dr. Chi-Kuo Mao. Minister Mao graduated from AIT in 1975. He was accompanied at the meeting by a number of  prominent AIT alumni, including former Transportation and Communications Minister H.E. Mr. George Chen, and the Director General of the Taiwan Railways Administration and current AITAA-Taiwan Chapter President, Dr. Frank C. K. Fan. Mr. Chen was also a former AITAA-Taiwan Chapter President.

At this meeting the president was given a list of possible collaborative research activities between the ministry and
AIT pertaining to transportation and logistics management, road traffic safety, highway bridge management system,  intelligent transportation systems, and transportation system analysis. President Irandoust suggested ways in which AIT alumni in Taiwan could assist with vocational education and training for small and medium-sized enterprises  (SMEs) in mainland China. At a dinner organized by AITAA-Taiwan Chapter, where about 20 senior alumni were  present, Dr. Wu cheng Chen, who is a professor and Dean of the School of Management at Chung Hua University, expressed his interest to forge collaboration with AIT’s School of Management.  

At a meeting at Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Irandoust briefed ministry officials about AIT’s new developments, including the finalization of the new AIT Charter, the Regional UN Center for the Promotion of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), and the upcoming Yunus Center for Sustainable Rural Agriculture Development. This meeting was attended by the Director-General, Victor Te-sun Yu; Second Secretary, Peter Jean-yih Chiou; and  Jen-Chun Tsai, an officer from the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ministry of Education officials also participated at this meeting, including Director General C J Liu, and Section Chiefs Shu-Fen Grace; Ou; Sophie H.Y. Chou; and Bao-Ling Chen.

Ministry officials were receptive to AIT’s proposal to consider funding scholarships for students from developing  countries in Asia to attend AIT, and also the idea for establishing a research center at AIT funded by Taiwan. President  Irandoust extended his invitation for Taiwan to be an active partner of AIT under the new charter by liaising with the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thailand, which is hosting AIT and heading the intergovernmental deliberations on the new  AIT Charter, in exploring the options and modalities that could be considered. 

At the Ministry of Education, as part of the SATU President’s Forum Program, the president also had a chance to meet  the Minister of Education H.E. Cheng Jei-Cheng. It was suggested that Taiwan could proactively avail of AIT’s many  networks, such as our Asia-Africa initiative, towards increasing its visibility as an actor for regional development. The  Minister was very positive about this idea and said it was Taiwan’s ambition to increase its internationalization in the  field of higher education and research. President Irandoust expressed AIT’s gratitude to the Ministry and the  Government of Taiwan for the ongoing faculty secondments and scholarships for Taiwanese students to study at AIT.

Just prior to his return to Thailand, President Irandoust met officials of the Corporate Synergy Development (CSD)  Center, a specialized corporate systems consulting group, headed by AIT alumnus (’81) Mr. Chin-Ho Su as its  President. He is also a faculty member from the Chung Yuan Christian University, a private university, which already  collaborates with AIT in the field of industrial engineering. CSD Center ( www.csd.org.tw) suggested that it could assist  AIT with some upcoming consultancy services, and collaboration in mainland China for vocational education and training services.

By participating in the SATU Presidents’ Forum and the NTU 80th anniversary celebrations, President Irandoust had the opportunity to interact with a number or university Presidents and Professors from Southeast Asia and South Asia.

A highlight of the SATU President’s Forum was a student forum in which AIT students Mr. Md. Mustafa Saroar and Ms. Thitikan Satchabut took part and represented the Institute.

Proposals for NCKU and AIT collaboration in the fields of disaster preparedness and sustainable development were floated during discussions by AIT head of External Relations and Communications, Dr. Pritam Shrestha, and NCKU Vice President for International Affairs Dr. H. Jenny Su. During the SATU Forum, the AIT team also met H.E. Mr. Ovid J.L. Tzeng, Minister without Portfolio.

During the week the AIT delegation also visited the Southern Taiwan Science Park, which is an industrial park that’s home to electronic industries, including the Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corporation of Taiwan, a leading manufacturer of LCD displays – used in computer monitors and TV.

AIT also visited Yuan Ze University (YZU), a private university funded by the Far Eastern Group, and signed a general memorandum of agreement (MoU), based on which a memorandum of agreement (MoA) will be developed in the near future for student and faculty exhanges. AIT expressed its thanks to YZU President Professor Tsong P. Perng for his hospitality and for receiving the AIT team.

The president was accompanied to Taiwan by AIT’s Head of External Relations and Communications (ERCO), Dr. Pritam Shrestha. The visit was organized by the ERCO office, and coordinated by its Promotions and Alumni Relations Coordinator Mr. Kyaw Soe Hlaing.

President Irandoust expressed thanks on behalf of the Institute to NCKU President Professor Michael M.C. Lai, who was the Chairman of the SATU Forum, and NTU President Dr. Si-Chen Lee, for extending AIT with invitations to attend their respective events.

For a report on the SATU Youth Forum which was also held at NCKU: http://www.ait.ac.th/news-and-events/2008/news-1/students-to-attend-satu-youth-forum/view