President Tsai Ing-wen met with the winners of the 22nd Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation Fervent Global Love of Lives Medals on the afternoon of September 27. She also thanked all the winners for showing us that no matter what challenges we face in life, we all have limitless potential. She expressed hope that the awards would allow us to spread the winners' powerful stories across the globe.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
I want to first welcome you to the Presidential Office. I also want to thank Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation Founder Chou [Chin-hua] (周進華) and Chairperson Guo [Ying-lan] (郭盈蘭) for organizing this meaningful event each year.
This year, 20 winners were chosen from a variety of fields for overcoming life's obstacles and achieving what was once thought impossible. Many winners have surmounted physical limitations to create artistic masterpieces, an admirable achievement.
Mr. Alexey Romanov, from Russia, is a pianist who will be putting on a lively performance in just a few minutes. Ms. Rusidah Badawi, from Indonesia, is a photographer whose works have been featured at the Indonesia National Gallery. Mr. Mariusz Kedzierski is a talented artist from Poland. Ms. Gao Shu-jhuan (高淑專) is an artist who painted her autobiography using her mouth. Mr. Lu Chih-song (盧志松) is a stoneworker and National Crafts Award Winner. All of them exemplify this determination to overcome physical obstacles.
Japanese pianist Mr. Takuto Koyanagi drew from his own experiences to establish an association for musicians with autism in Japan that has cultivated a number of outstanding musicians.
Mr. Li Xiao-guan (李曉光) from China, holds over 200 patents for codes he wrote using a single finger, a truly commendable achievement. Mr. Chou Tse-han (周則翰) refused to let his disabilities hold him back, swimming to first place at Taiwan's National Disabled Games.
Chen Kuo-hsin (陳國信), also known as the "Presidential head chef," did not have an easy childhood growing up in an orphanage, but he strived for greatness. He has become a culinary sensation, and has cooked for many presidents and leaders of our allies at state banquets.
Many of this year's winners acted as advocates and encouraged others who needed help, bringing about many important changes.
Ms. Maria Luisa de Cossío de Gonzales Posada from Peru works to help homeless children on the streets. She has helped treat more than 30,000 South American children for drug addictions, giving them a new start in life.
Kareem Waris Olamilekan from Nigeria is an artist with quite a following online. Although he is only 11 years old, his works have already amazed people the world over. More importantly, he shares the food he earns for his works with other children in his village, earning him the nickname "little Robin Hood."
Mr. Ku Ying-yung (古英勇), an elder from Taiwan's Paiwan tribe, has made crucial contributions to indigenous culture and tribal tourism, and he works hard to foster mutual understanding between Taiwan's indigenous peoples and Han people. Mr. Lai Shui-huo (賴水和), also from Taiwan, planted 7 hectares of trees so that his mother could be exposed to more phytoncides, a natural plant compound. Mr. Lai was able to both take care of his mother and help realize our goals of environmental friendliness and greening.
There are many other winners who have made contributions in different areas. These awards allow us to spread these powerful stories across the globe, and I am confident that they will spark a greater love of life in others.
We are all presented with new challenges each day, and I want to thank this year's winners for showing us that no matter what challenges we face, we all have limitless potential. Thank you.
The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation Founder Chou Chin-hua, and Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Ho Chi-Kung (何啟功). Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維).