President Tsai Ing-wen met on the morning of December 6 with Ian Riseley, president of Rotary International for the year 2017-18, and district governors-elect and their spouses of the Rotary International Taiwan. Besides cordially welcoming the visitors to Taiwan, the president also complimented Rotary International Taiwan on its high international profile, and expressed hope for an even closer partnership between Rotary International Taiwan and Rotary International.
In remarks, President Tsai congratulated Mr. Riseley on his election as the president of Rotary International for the year 2017-18. After he assumes office in the summer of 2017, she noted, he will be leading one of the world's oldest and largest international service organizations. Mr. Riseley just visited several Rotary chapters in northern Taiwan this past September, and the president, on behalf of the government, welcomed him back to Taiwan once again.
President Tsai pointed out that Rotary International has made outstanding contributions through its international charity work, and has been a symbol of mature civil society in Taiwan. For the past half-century, Rotary members throughout Taiwan have worked closely with their local communities and taken active part in community service activities. At the same time, the Rotary organization's international links have enabled Rotarians here to familiarize people overseas with Taiwan's diverse culture and the successes they've achieved here.
President Tsai further noted that, as a result of these international links, the world has become aware of the vigor of Taiwan's society. Gary C.K. Huang, of the Rotary Club of Taipei, in 2014 became the first person ever from Taiwan to be installed as president of Rotary International. During Mr. Huang's presidency, the number of Rotary members in Taiwan grew quickly, and Chinese became an official language of Rotary International.
President Tsai also noted that Rotary organizations in Taiwan often hold important international conferences with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Taipei, for example, will host the 2021 Rotary International Convention, and will also be the venue for Interota 2017 Taipei. These hard-won achievements redound to the credit not just of Rotarians, but also of the larger Taiwanese society.
The president voiced hope for a deeper and closer partnership between Taiwan and Rotary International so that more friends throughout the world can come to know all that is beautiful and good about Taiwan. In other words, said the president, new challenges arise continually amidst today's ongoing march toward globalization. How do we emulate the Rotarian community service ethic? How do we contribute to the international community by sharing Taiwan's experience with economic development and democracy? Questions like these are taking on increasing importance.
President Tsai emphasized that supporting the development of non-government organizations and expanding the channels of international service are specifically stated objectives of Taiwan's diplomatic policy. Hopefully, she said, Taiwan and Rotary organizations can work together to achieve further success. Quoting a famous Rotary saying—They Profit Most Who Serve Best—President Tsai wished Mr. and Mrs. Riseley a fruitful trip, and expressed hope that Rotarians will benefit through their service.