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President Tsai attends 32nd MWIA International Congress
President Tsai attends 32nd MWIA International Congress

On the morning of June 24, President Tsai Ing-wen attended the opening of the 32nd International Congress of the Medical Women's International Association (MWIA). In remarks, President Tsai stated that disease knows no borders, which is why politics should not be allowed to obstruct global treatment and prevention efforts, adding that although Taiwan was not invited to this year's World Health Assembly, we will continue to actively contribute to global health and international pandemic responses. The president also said that Taiwan is eager to share our experience in women's empowerment and expressed hope that a better environment can be created for woman medical professionals around the world.

A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:

It is my honor to address the 32nd International Congress of the Medical Women's International Association. I am pleased that so many MWIA leaders and members from around the world have joined this event.

Founded in 1919, the MWIA has members from 90 countries, and works closely with the WHO and the UN, including as an advisor to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. An MWIA member since 1954, the Taiwan Medical Women's Association (TMWA) this year has the privilege of hosting this major event in Taiwan for the first time. I want to congratulate the TMWA on putting together a wonderful congress. I am confident this gathering will help advance international cooperation while highlighting all that Taiwan's women doctors contribute to the world.

The theme of this year's congress is "Young Women Young Doctors: Our Inspiration Our Future." This is an important topic as we try to encourage more young women to enter medicine, and to address the professional and medical challenges facing women.

With more than 800 experts, scholars, and students from nearly 50 countries taking part, this congress provides a key forum to share professional experience and research. And I am glad that Taiwan's doctors and academics will have this opportunity to demonstrate their achievements, in fields ranging from chronic disease treatment to vaccine development to public health management. In late April, Taiwan updated our disease response measures to adapt to a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country. While challenges remain, we have confidence that the unity and solidarity shown by the Taiwanese people will soon allow life across our country to return to normal. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the medical professionals here in Taiwan and around the world for standing on the frontlines of the fight against the pandemic. I'm deeply grateful for your efforts and sacrifices.

Diseases like COVID-19 do not respect national borders, which is precisely why politics must not be allowed to obstruct global treatment and prevention efforts. Though Taiwan was not invited to the World Health Assembly this year, we will continue to actively contribute to global health and international pandemic responses. I hope that this congress can remind us of the need for all people to stand together in our universal, interdependent mission to advance public health and welfare.

Women's empowerment is another core goal of the MWIA, and an area in which Taiwan is eager to share our experience. Thanks to substantial social and educational reforms, Taiwan has made great progress in helping women pursue any career they want, without being bound by traditional gender roles. But there is much work left to be done to bridge the gender gap, including in medicine. That is why I am happy that the MWIA is focused on supporting young women doctors, and on finding ways for women physicians to balance work and family.

This congress will help facilitate discussions on how we can create a better environment for women doctors around the world. And I am sure that the many talented Taiwanese professionals at this event are eager to share their experiences with all of you. Taiwan has much to contribute to the international medical community, and also has much to learn. I want to express my sincere thanks to the MWIA and the TMWA for organizing this event for international exchange. And I want to thank all those in attendance, both in person and online, for bringing your insight and expertise to these important conversations. Thank you, and I wish everyone good health and a productive congress.

Also in attendance at the opening ceremony were Ambassador-at-Large Wu Yung-tung (吳運東); Legislator and Taiwan Medical Association President Chiu Tai-yuan (邱泰源); Legislators Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀), Lin Yi-Hua (林奕華), and Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華); MWIA President Eleanor Nwadinobi; MWIA International Congress Chair Lai Chyong-huey (賴瓊慧); National Taiwan University Hospital Vice Superintendent Gau Shur-Fen (高淑芬); and members of the diplomatic community in Taiwan, with WMA President Heidi Stensmyren delivering pre-recorded remarks via video.

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