During a meeting with 2018 "International Youth Ambassadors Exchange Program" and "Young Agricultural Ambassadors New Southbound Policy Exchange Program" participants on the morning of October 19, President Tsai Ing-wen said that the momentum to drive continuous innovation and forward progress in Taiwan will come from young people's completely new way of thinking. She urged the youth ambassadors to maintain their enthusiasm, and bring positive creativity and inspiration to the government's ongoing diplomatic work.
President Tsai started her remarks by welcoming the youth ambassadors to the Presidential Office, and noted that her visitors included three different groups of participants in the "International Youth Ambassadors Exchange Program" organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One group had traveled to the Solomon Islands and Thailand, another to Palau and the Philippines, and the third to Tuvalu and India. Also on hand, she noted, were participants in the "Young Agricultural Ambassadors New Southbound Policy Exchange Program" co-organized by the Council of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who had been sent to Vietnam and Malaysia, many of whom were selected for recognition as members of Taiwan's outstanding "Hundred Young Farmers."
President Tsai pointed out that since taking office she has made five state visits to Taiwan's diplomatic allies, and wanted to share two important things she learned from her participation in diplomatic work. The first was that we are often compared to our larger neighbors when talking about regional politics or history, but on a global scale, Taiwan is a country with a significant presence and considerable strengths. That means we should have confidence in ourselves. The second thing she learned is that Taiwan can contribute to the world. Our experience pursuing democracy and economic development successes set a good example for many other countries.
President Tsai went on to say that in a more concrete sense, Taiwan is also a top global competitor in the fields of agriculture, education, healthcare, and technology. Whenever she has visited Taiwan's allies and interacted with our medical and technical missions stationed overseas, she has personally witnessed that kind of strength, which can definitely benefit the global community and make the world a better place. So as long as we are bold and go out into the world, the president said, the world will engage with us. The way Taiwan makes friends is by contributing its experience and technologies.
President Tsai said that the assembled youth ambassadors were all doing important diplomatic work this past summer. This year, she said, we focused on in-depth exchanges to create connections for agricultural production and marketing and technology cooperation in countries targeted by Taiwan's New Southbound Policy. The results of those efforts have been quite good, and on behalf of the government, the president thanked everyone for their hard work.
President Tsai said she was happy to learn that the Young Agricultural Ambassadors included a second-generation Taiwanese citizen of Vietnamese descent, and a Vietnamese man who married into a Taiwanese family, and one of the International Youth Ambassadors was a Taiwanese student who grew up in Thailand. People-centered exchanges are the foundation of Taiwan's efforts to enhance ties with neighboring Asian countries, and she thanked everyone for participating.
In closing, President Tsai offered encouragement to the young people on hand, saying that their new ways of thinking are often the source of momentum driving the nation's continuous innovation and forward progress. She then expressed hope that, after expanding their horizons as youth ambassadors, the participants would maintain enthusiasm and bring positive creativity and new inspiration to the government's ongoing diplomatic efforts. Following her remarks, the president listened to the youth ambassadors as they described their overseas exchange experiences.