On the afternoon of Thursday, August 16 Belize time (morning of August 17 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen presided over a certificate award ceremony for Taiwan Scholarship recipients. She encouraged the recipients to study hard, and make the best of all the opportunities that come their way. The president also emphasized that their accomplishments reflect on the accomplishments of Taiwan-Belize relations, and that both governments are rooting for them.
After President Tsai's arrival, Mr. Philip Codd, a Taiwan Scholarship recipient, shared his experience studying in Taiwan. The president then delivered remarks of her own in English.
A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I am very happy to be in Belize City. It's my first time here. And as I was flying into your country, I got to see why Belize is one of the most beautiful tourism destinations in the world. So I am so pleased that I have this opportunity to visit Belize and spend time with the governor-general, prime minister, and, of course, all of you, who are here today.
During every trip, I always look forward to opportunities such as this. Young people are a reminder to political leaders that we should always be thinking about how we can better the next generation. Education, of course, is one of the best ways to do so, and is one of the essential building blocks for a better society.
This is why, over the years, Taiwan has provided hundreds of scholarships to promising young Belizeans. Our own experience shows that human capital is the foundation for economic development; and that investments in education are one of the most worthwhile decisions that any government can make. And therefore, we know that by supporting the education of Belize's best and brightest, Taiwan is also contributing to Belize's social and economic development.
Already, over 200 Belizeans have graduated from Taiwan's universities and gone on to become leaders in their respective fields. From starting businesses to sharing their engineering knowhow, their successes have become stories of success in our bilateral relationship. Their accomplishments have encouraged us to think proactively about what more we can do.
So, this afternoon, I'm delighted to be standing before you handing out scholarships to 29 outstanding young people – the single largest class of scholarship students ever sent to Taiwan from Belize. This represents an increase in the amount of scholarships we have provided in the past. And this class will be studying across more disciplines and degrees than ever before.
I know that all of these students – all of you – have worked hard to get here, and your parents, and indeed your country, are very proud of what you have accomplished.
While you are in Taiwan, I encourage you to study hard and make the best of all the opportunities that come your way. Having studied abroad myself, I know that being far from home can sometimes be tough. But I can assure you that your efforts will pay off. I have no doubt that the education you will receive will immensely benefit your future careers.
Furthermore, during your time in Taiwan, you will play an essential role in reducing the distance between our two countries. I hope you will have the opportunity to not only experience our culture – Taiwanese culture – but also to share, wherever you go, a bit of Belize as well. Taiwan is a multicultural country and we want to have a little more of Belize – and especially Marie Sharp's Belizean Heat – become a part of our cultural tapestry.
By the time you are back, I know that you'll be saying: Ah mi gat wahn gud gud taim. (I've had a wonderful time.)
Finally, I want to say to you that both of our governments are rooting for you. As I said, your success is our success. Your accomplishments reflect on the accomplishments of our bilateral relationship. So I hope you have a wonderful time.
Congratulations to you all once again, and see you in Taiwan! Thank you!
After concluding her remarks, President Tsai presented each recipient with their certificate and posed for photos with them. The Taiwan Scholarship recipients then sang folksongs for the president in a lively and festival atmosphere.
Among those present at the event were the following senior Belizean officials: Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and CEO of Ministry of Education Debbie Domingo. Among those representing Taiwan were: National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Education Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮), and ROC Ambassador to Belize Charles K.Y. Liu (劉克裕).