President Ma Ying-jeou met on the morning of June 11 with president of the University of Maryland Wallace D. Loh (陸道逵). The president, on behalf of the government and people of the ROC, expressed a cordial welcome to President Loh on his visit to Taiwan. He also expressed his hopes that Taiwan and the university can work together via the Taiwan Academy structure to promote Taiwan and Chinese studies, as well as the use of orthodox Chinese characters.
In remarks, the president noted that President Loh was born in Shanghai but moved to Peru when he was young. He subsequently pursued advanced studies in the United States and gradually worked his way up in the world of academia, becoming the first ethnic Chinese president of the University of Maryland in its over 150 years of existence. President Ma saluted President Loh for his achievements and courage. Noting that President Loh has specially led a delegation to Taiwan to sign memoranda of understanding on academic cooperation with National Tsing Hua University and Taipei Medical University, the president said he welcomes the signing of these agreements, as they will pave the way for academic exchanges between the institutions.
The president commented that since 2005, the Ministry of Education has signed educational memoranda of understanding with US state departments of education and institutions, which has forged a path for academic cooperation on many fronts with the United States. For instance, these agreements have provided for English language instructors to teach here, and for Chinese language teachers from Taiwan to go to the United States. In addition, Taiwan and US universities have signed a total of 1,688 academic exchange agreements, he said. The president pointed out that the University of Maryland has entered into sister university arrangements with seven counterparts in Taiwan, including National Tsing Hua University, thereby establishing relationships of breadth and depth.
President Ma remarked that 20 years ago he spent time doing research at the University of Maryland School of Law and published some academic papers, so he has always felt a sense of gratitude toward the university. He added that on January 24 of this year, the University of Maryland and the ROC representative office in the United States signed a letter of intent whereby the university would be a contact point in the Taiwan Academy initiative, and called for a joint effort between the University of Maryland and Taiwan to promote Chinese and Taiwan studies, as well as the use of orthodox Chinese characters.
President Ma emphasized that Taiwan is home to many distinguished alumni from the University of Maryland, including former President Shen Chun-shan (沈君山) of National Tsing Hua University, former Deputy Secretary-General to the President Kao Lang (高朗), and Joanna J. L. Chang (裘兆琳), Research Fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies at the Academia Sinica. All of these individuals have made enormous contributions in their respective fields, he said. In addition, Prof. Hungdah Chiu (丘宏達), who passed away last year, was Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law, and was presented with the Order of the Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon in recognition of his outstanding academic contributions, the president said.
The delegation led by President Loh included Michele A. Eastman, Assistant President and Chief of Staff, University of Maryland professor of physics and former President of National Central University Chuan-Shen Liu (劉全生), University of Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Dean Cheng-I Wei (魏正毅), University of Maryland Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Director Mei-Ling Ting Lee (丁美齡), University of Maryland Associate Provost for Academic Affairs & and Dean of the Graduate School Charles Caramello, and Maryland International Incubator Director Kai Duh (杜凱元). The group was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Deputy Minister of Education Lin Tsong-ming (林聰明) to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting were National Security Council Advisor Philip Y. M. Yang (楊永明), Tony W. T. Lin (林文通), Director-General of the Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations under the Ministry of Education, and Lin Wei-shan (林蔚山), chairman of the University of Maryland Taiwan Alumni Association.