Since 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Taiwan has conducted the International Youth Ambassadors Exchange Program that allows talented Taiwanese youth to participate in international affairs and broaden their horizons.
Through a wide array of exchanges and interactions, the youth ambassadors have demonstrated the country’s important role on the international stage as a provider of humanitarian aid, promoter of cultural exchanges, and bearer of Chinese culture.
Themed “Youth from Taiwan, Compassion for All,” the exchange program this year aims to not only highlight the vitality and kindness of Taiwanese youth but also reiterate their commitment to issues of global concern such as humanitarian aid and sustainable development.
This year, MOFA has selected 160 college and university students to serve as youth ambassadors, dividing them into 10 groups. They will visit 41 cities in 35 countries in such regions like North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa, West Asia and Asia Pacific.
In Asia Pacific, the new set of delegates return to the Philippines through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the country. From September 12 to 15, the youth ambassadors will attend meetings and seminars, and give performances that combine dance and music.
An energetic performance
One of the much-awaited activity of the exchange program is the particpant’s performance demonstrating the authenticity, benevolence, and sophistication of their country, and present its natural environment and cultural heritage.
Entitled “Energetic New Taiwan,” the performance will officially open the Manila tour on September 13 at Liberty Hall located at 820 Benavidez St. in Binondo, Manila. It is divided into 12 acts and focuses on six main aspects: natural environment, LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability), cultural heritage, cuisine, cultural creativity, and warmth.
The performance starts with the “Elders Drinking Song,” an indigenous song that was featured at the 1996 Summer Olympics held in the US city of Atlanta. The performers then proceed by introducing the aforementioned six aspects.
Then the natural environment will be portrayed for interplay between Taiwan’s mountains and seas. This takes the audience on a journey into mysterious forests and clouds, the performers tumble onto the stage accompanied by indigenous music.
Following the growth of LOHAS, cycling, hiking, and snorkeling have become popular activities in Taiwan. Through the song “Ho-Hai-Yan Ocean,” which was made popular by an amateur indigenous singer, as well as the athletic movements of the performers, the audience is introduced to the prominence of blue seas in the psyche of the Taiwanese people.
With regard to cultural heritage, Taiwan boasts tremendous ethnic and cultural diversity. By combining indigenous, children’s, and Hakka music, the performance tells of the many different communities who, through their hard work, have made Taiwan into what it is today. Subsequently, music from the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon marks the beginning of a martial arts presentation introducing traditional Chinese culture. With indigenous harvest songs, Taiwanese opera, electric-techno neon gods, Hakka oil-paper umbrellas, martial arts, and traditional opera songs, this is the most diverse part of the performance, allowing the audience to experience the depth and heterogeneity of Taiwan’s culture.
Next, various types of cuisine are introduced through dance, rap, singing, and kung fu. The screen behind the stage shows various elements of food culture in Taiwan, such as chopsticks, the famous restaurant Din Tai Fung, and night markets.
The section on cultural creativity draws attention to Taiwan’s high-tech industry. In addition to the scintillating light effects and energetic dance on stage, the screen shows Taiwan’s role as one of the world’s largest producers of high-tech products, as well as its capabilities in terms of cultural creation.
The aspect of warmth returns to the theme of this year’s delegation. The achievements of Taiwanese NGOs are underlined with regard to providing humanitarian assistance, promoting human rights, and contributing to a sustainable environment, thereby conveying to the audience the empathy and friendliness of the Taiwanese people. Dressed up as residents from various sectors of society, the performers proudly wave the Taiwanese flag.
At the end, the members of the delegation are introduced one by one, and a video is shown highlighting their preparations prior to traveling overseas as Youth Ambassadors.
Other activities and venues
More activities await the Taiwanese youth delegation to the Philippines during their four-day visit here.
They are set to meet with fellow youth from Manila on September 14 at the Ateneo de Manila University, and on September 15 at the Lyceum of the Philippines University.
The tour will end on September 15 with a visit to the children of Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation in Alabang, Muntilupa City.