On the afternoon of June 26 (Sunday, Panama time), President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a luncheon at her hotel for representatives of Panamanian recipients of the Taiwan Scholarship. During the luncheon, President Tsai commented that cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Panama have yielded outstanding results.
In remarks, President Tsai recounted that during a banquet for local expatriates held the previous day (June 25), Panamanian students from the Republic of China (Taiwan) Educational Center [Centro Educativo Republica de China (Taiwan)] sang famed Taiwanese songs – in Taiwanese. The performance made a deep impression on her, and showed that the many years of cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Panama have yielded wonderful results.
For example, said President Tsai, ROC Ambassador to Panama Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) once studied in Panama on a scholarship from the Panamanian government, and has a deep understanding of the local customs and culture. He later returned to Taiwan, took up a position at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and went on to become an outstanding ambassador. As such, Ambassador Liu is a notable example of how bilateral exchanges have yielded significant successes. President Tsai thanked the Panamanian government for its longstanding support for bilateral student exchanges.
President Tsai remarked that her purpose in inviting recipients of the Taiwan Scholarship to the luncheon was to listen to the views of young people, and she expressed hope that the young Panamanians at the luncheon might one day come to serve as the best bridge between the two countries.
Following the president's remarks, Amado Cerrud, who graduated with a master's degree from Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University and now serves as president of the Taiwan Alumni Association for Panamanian returnees from Taiwan, delivered a speech in Taiwanese to welcome President Tsai to Panama. Mr. Cerrud stated that when Taiwan decided ten years ago to give students from Panama opportunities to study in Taiwan, it changed their lives. Those young people, he said, have returned to Panama, and their multilingual abilities have made it easier for them to find work. For this Mr. Cerrud offered sincere thanks to the government and people of Taiwan.
President Tsai presented each of the Taiwan Scholarship recipients at the luncheon with a Spanish-language version of the Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, a package of DVDs prepared by the Ministry of Culture. She encouraged them to use the movies in the Toolkit as a means of learning more about Taiwan, its people and their creativity, cities, cuisines, customs, and culture.
Among those present at the luncheon were National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維), and ROC Ambassador to Paraguay Jose Maria Liu.