Last August 31, 2016 (Wednesday), twenty-two university students from the Republic of China (Taiwan) performed a six-act show in the jam-packed UST Medicine Auditorium, as part of their 2016 cultural exchange program. Dubbed the 2016 Taiwan Youth Ambassadors, the students portrayed the different facets of Taiwan’s rich heritage and culture and invited their Filipino counterparts to visit.

In his welcome remarks, UST Rector Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., PhD said that “cultural exchanges today have not only become dynamic but also meaningful and relevant.” The Rector, who is known for pushing the University’s internationalization efforts, underscored that such exchanges are engines for internationalization, which provide students and faculty with a wider perspective of life and the world. This wider perspective provides people with the chance “to value and appreciate the diversity and distinctiveness of other cultures, recognize the many interesting similarities that actually connect us to people from other countries.”

This recognition of similarities was emphasized by Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, Representative of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Philippines, in his speech, when he recognized that Taiwan has long looked north or west for partners, but has overlooked its closest neighbor down south, the Philippines. Thus, the new Taiwan government has introduced the New Southbound Policy, in which the Philippines figures prominently, as the gateway to the Southeast Asian nations.

Dr. Lin heaped praises on the Philippines and UST for having a sizeable number of competent professors and urged Taiwanese students to also study here.

The performance entitled “Dynamic Youth, Friendly Taiwan” was a 90-minute show that presented, among others, Taiwan’s scenic spots, historical timeline, political and economic journey, culture, history, and tangible and intangible heritage. The 2016 Taiwan Youth Ambassadors were headed by the Director, Minister Odi-Shyi-ren Sun.

At a post-performance dinner hosted by TECO at the Ballroom of the UST Paredes Building, musical performances were rendered by UST’s famous 80- member- all- student- Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Prof. Herminigildo Ranera and Coro Tomasino under Prof. Ronan Ferrer, allowing for the exchange of cultural experiences between the young people of the two countries.

The Youth Ambassadors Program, which started in 2009, allows talented students from Taiwan to participate in an international cultural exchange program to showcase the creativity of the youth and promote the culture of Taiwan to the international community.