Senators Markey & Rubio Re-Introduce Bicameral Taiwan Fellowship Act

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In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey, who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat. 

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WASHINGTON DC – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the East Asia Subcommittee on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Congressmen Ami Bera (CA-07) and Steve Chabot (OH-01), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Asia Subcommittee, respectively, yesterday, March 10, announced the reintroduction of the Taiwan Fellowship Act.

Modeled on the successful Mansfield Fellowship Program between the United States and Japan, the legislation establishes a fellowship exchange program for U.S. federal government employees in all three branches of government to learn, live, and work in Taiwan for a length of up to two years. Upon successful conclusion of the program, fellows must fulfill a service requirement in their sponsoring branch of government where they will be equipped to advance U.S. values and interests in the Indo-Pacific region, with special emphasis on strengthening our strategic partnership with Taiwan. 

“The Taiwan Fellowship Act builds upon the U.S. strategic partnership with Taiwan’s vibrant democracy in areas in which Taiwan has long held expertise – such as trade, human rights, the rule of law, regional security, and in global health,” said Chair Markey. “Through intensive language, cultural, and political immersion at a Taiwanese ministry or civic institution, U.S. public servants will create lasting professional relationships and expertise that will far outlast each fellow’s time in Taiwan. While China seeks to isolate Taiwan from meaningful cooperation in tackling our global challenges, the swift passage of the Taiwan Fellowship Act would be a key step to signal that America is back, as committed as ever to our partnership with Taiwan, and reengaged in the Indo-Pacific region. I thank the Massachusetts-based Western Pacific Fellowship Project for their leadership in helping this idea come to life.”

 “As Beijing continues to isolate Taiwan diplomatically, I’m proud to reintroduce this important bipartisan and bicameral effort,” said Senator Rubio. “Modeled after the successful Mansfield Fellowship with Japan, the Taiwan Fellowship Act would create a fellowship program in Taiwan for the continued expansion of our bilateral and cultural ties with Taipei. This program would be a great step in advancing U.S. efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” “The United States and Taiwan share a close partnership that is rooted in our shared commitment to democracy and the rule of law,” said Chairman Bera said. “This exchange program will give U.S. policymakers the opportunity to live and work in Taiwan, equipping them with better knowledge of the region’s history, culture, and political dynamics. Such experiences and people-to-people connections are crucial for developing tomorrow’s Taiwan experts in the federal government and informing U.S. foreign policy toward the Indo-Pacific. I am proud to work with Senators Markey, Rubio, and Representative Chabot on this bipartisan legislation that invests in a robust, enduring U.S.-Taiwan relationship.” 

“As a longtime supporter of the United States-Taiwan bilateral relationship, I have always been a firm believer in the importance of face-to-face interaction between our respective governments,” said Representative Chabot. “That is why, I introduced, and in 2018, the President signed, the bipartisan Taiwan Travel Act, which fosters high-level dialogue. Such dialogue helps our two countries to see eye-to-eye, solve our differences, and meet shared challenges. The same holds true at the working level, and there is no better way to build relationships than having our personnel working side-by-side with their counterparts in Taiwanese ministries. The Taiwan Fellowship Act will set up a strong framework to make such collaboration possible and thereby deepen our bilateral relationship.”Co-sponsoring the Taiwan Fellowship Act in the Senate are Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). 

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE

Specifically the Taiwan Fellowship Act would:

  • Select no fewer than 5 fellows (expanded to 10 after two years) from the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches of the U.S. Government to serve out a fellowship of up to two years in Taiwan
  • Encourage development of vital skills and expertise, including Mandarin language ability, by calling upon the State Department and American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) to give preference to fellowship candidates able to serve one or more years in Taiwan
  • Include a service requirement for returned fellows in order to expand official U.S. government understanding of Taiwan and issues related to the broader economic, geo-strategic, and political realities of the Indo-Pacific

“With Taiwan’s growing importance as a beacon for democracy in the Western Pacific and with its critical importance as a strategic asset to the United States the Taiwan Fellowship Act will have a profound impact on US-Taiwan relations. The undoubted success of the Taiwan Fellowship Act will emulate the success the Mansfield Fellowship program has brought to the forefront in helping foster closer US-Japan relations over the past three decades,” said Minze Chien, PhD, National President, Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) 

“Passing the Taiwan Fellowship Act will ensure that relations between the United States and Taipei are rooted in a deep and comprehensive understanding of each side’s interests. It will give policymakers in the U.S. and Taiwan partners they can call on to help them understand the other side’s perspective and needs. And it will show the people of Taiwan and other nations how much the United States values its relationships with friendly countries,” said Shelley Rigger, Brown Professor of Political Science, Davidson College.

editor

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