Ambassadors' Reflections


Cathleen Chang

Cathleen Chang     Class of 2011

At the end of the two weeks, I came out of the Ambassador Program with a deeper appreciation for democracy and a stronger conviction to preserve Taiwan’s democracy. Having been born and raised in the US, I had never questioned the merits or significance of democracy. Freedom of speech and the opportunity to vote for your leader were taken for granted as natural and expected rights. Throughout the program, both Congressmen and speakers consistently stressed the importance of democracy—the strongest tie between the US and Taiwan. I began to understand the value of democracy to the individual and to the nation. The Formosa Foundation not only educated me in the intricacies of US-Taiwan relations but also showed me the process of democracy. The participants this year have also greatly shaped my views on the US and Taiwan. The nightly debates and philosophical discussions enabled me to form a more balanced perspective on Taiwan and its future. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” This is the reason why the Formosa Foundation and its Ambassadors are such integral parts in helping Taiwan maintain its vibrant democracy. With the skills and knowledge gained from the program, I am more equipped to become an effective advocate for Taiwan and for democracy.

Cathleen graduated from Rice University studying Asian Studies and Psychology. She will continue to be an advocate for Taiwan and hopes to attend law school in the future.

Juliana Hung

Juliana Hung    Class of 2006

There are many individuals in congress who support Taiwan, and we need to continue to believe in ourselves and in our cause. We need to be resilient in our efforts towards preserving Taiwan’s democracy. As ambassadors of past, present, and future, we stand as that beacon of hope for Taiwan. If there are always individuals fighting for such a worthy cause then there can only be success.
To have been able to participate in this program was an incredible opportunity and I intend to put what I have learned during those 2 weeks to good use.

Juliana grew up in Southern California and is currently studying Political Science at UC Sand Diego, where she is the founding president of the Taiwanese American Student Association. She was an intern for CA State Senator Gilbert Cedillo in 2003, through the TACL Summer Political Internship Program.

Douglas Close

Douglas Close        Class of 2009

Through my experience with the Formosa Foundation, I gained more knowledge and understanding regarding US/Taiwan relations than I thought possible. Working with such an inclusive group, a close-knit dynamic community quickly formed. Through this community, I was pushed to give my all and grow as a person. This beneficial experience has changed me for life. Not only am I more knowledgeable about US/Taiwan relations, but I have a better understanding of the US government as well as an understanding of what my civic responsibilities are. My new friends from the Formosa Foundation encourage me to always be involved and stand up for what I know to be right.

The skills I gained from the Formosa Foundation have empowered me to make the change I believe can happen. Being able to understand the power structure of D.C. allows me to be more effective when advocating for an issue I am passionate about. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in Democracy, Human Rights, the United States, Taiwan, and the US government.

A native of Colorado, DJ is studying political science at the University of Denver. He is actively involved in student government on campus, and is a mentor to high school students.

Cathy

Johnny Po Lin        Class of 2004

Youthful idealism is like your appendix --everyone has one, and it is usually useless in the real world. The Ambassador Program helped me understand how to turn empty talk into concrete action. Coming into the Program I knew that my politics regarding Taiwan would differ from most of my peers. Nonetheless, I found the program embracing and empowering. At the end I walked away with first-hand knowledge of how the "Taiwan issue" is perceived on Capitol Hill, and with that, started brainstorming about what young people could realistically do. I led a group of students at Brown to create a program called the “Strait Talk Symposium Project,” a non-partisan, grassroots initiative to encourage and sustain conversation between the young people of U.S, China, and Taiwan. The inaugural conference took place November 2005 to great success!

Johnny will  graduate from Brown University in 2007, with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. He is an active member of the Brown Taiwan Society and the Asian American Student Association.  Being co-editor for Vision, an Asian-American magazine, Johnny is also a member of Human Rights Campaign and of Democracy Matters, dedicated to public finance campaigns.

Cathy

Benjamin Lin    Class of 2005

The Ambassador Program gave me the opportunity to get off the sidelines and take action on an issue which is important not only to the world but also to my family and friends. There is nothing quite like working with energetic and passionate individuals on a cause that will have a lasting impact on international and domestic developments. I not only learned valuable lessons but forged lifelong friendships.

Graduated from UC Berkeley in 2005, Ben has also served in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry since 2003. He is currently deployed in Iraq as a Marines officer.

Cathy

在那一刻我忽然發現自己並不孤單! 彭后諦 25歲政治大學新聞所碩士生

這次的親善大使培訓營正是那種充滿了有趣人物的成功活動,它結合了台美兩地的學生,而這群人不斷用熱情和信念來啟發彼此。我到現在還能回想起有一天晚上,所有我的組員在研究國會議員研究到半夜一點。我們累壞了,但還是欲罷不能地再聊了兩個小時關於台灣的各種事情:台灣人對中國大陸的感覺如何?台美人如何看待瞄準台灣的飛彈?為何美國白人會關心台灣議題?身為台灣人,在那一刻我忽然發現自己並不孤單!世界上還有很多人都關心台灣,我們台灣需要做的是去接觸這些人然後傳達我們的心聲!而這就是我後來在美國國會議員及其幕僚前所做的事。

Cathy

Victor Liu      Class of 2005

The Formosa Foundation's Ambassador Program was an extremely rewarding experience. After the program ended, I felt it was important to give others the same opportunity as I had through the Ambassador Program. Fellow Rutgers student and former ambassador, Jonathan Lee, proposed that we start an organization, which we named Distinct Formosan Identity (DFI). In this organization, sponsored by Rutgers University, we educated ten other Rutgers students on Taiwanese issues and trained them to articulate their views to Congressmen. Our organization has since met with Congressmen Garrett and Holt of New Jersey.  We seek to meet with more members of Congress in the coming months.”

Victor is currently attending Rutgers University, expecting to graduate in 2008 with a bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Political Science.

Claire

但是這個培訓營讓我認知到在國境環境裡,積極的外交工作是非常重要的。

葉怡君22歲台灣大學國家發展研究所

在參加這次青年大使培訓營以前,有時候我會因為台灣的政治環境和被國際邊緣化的局勢而感到很沮喪,特別是在受到中國的壓力之下。似乎沒有國家真正關心台灣,而我們在外交工作上也非常挫折。但是這個培訓營讓我認知到在國境環境裡,積極的外交工作是非常重要的。

身為一個台灣人,我們應該為自己在國際上發聲,即使我們只是一個學生。我們應該要有國際的觀點和策略在台灣的議題上,並且積極尋求適合、有效率的管道傳遞訊息。在培訓期間,我們和議員面對面有效率地分享並交換意見,而我也意外地發現台灣其實有很多友善的朋友在地球的另一邊。我開始了解這個培訓目的並不只是教育和衝擊我們這些青年大使們,而是要讓我們有機會和義務去教育、播訊息給那些關心的人或是應當要知道的人。我終於了解外交工作是非常重要但是也的確是非常的辛苦而力不從心。然而,台灣非常需要有智慧、有國際觀,並且有理想熱忱的人去實踐外交工作,來引領台灣在國際上的角色。台灣,加油

Cathy

Shawn Healy           Class of 2005

It’s my love for Democracy and America’s dedication to forming and protecting democracies through-out the world, that has brought me to the Formosa Foundation. My love for democracy will never die, it will continue to gain strength and I hope one day I will be able to help Taiwan in an even greater capacity.

Shawn is a graduate of Radford University who aspires to attend law school and pursue a career in public policy.

Jerry

感謝美國福爾摩沙基金會給我這個寶貴的機會和經驗,讓我能夠為國家貢獻

黃嘉偉26歲 英國雪菲爾大學法學研究所碩士班二年級

中華文化、孔孟思想、中文都是我們生活中的一部分。小時後的課本告訴我們,我們是炎黃子孫、龍的傳人,因此我們要當個堂堂正正的中國人,所以我是中國人。可是出身台灣鄉村閩南家庭的我,上學小學前,我還說得一口流利的台語,我是台灣人。那麼我到底是中國人還是台灣人?

我非常幸運在成長的過程中有機會在包括台灣、美國和歐洲等地求學和生活,因此對於國家我逐漸有了強烈的認同感。當外國友人問及:「台灣是否為中國的一部分?」,我會堅決的回答說:「不是!」,並且說:「台灣是一個民主自由主權獨立的國家,她的名字叫中華民國;同時她並不是中華人民共和國的一部分。」

在美國福爾摩莎基金會的贊助下,我有機會親自到美國國會參訪並且傳達來自台灣年輕人的想法與聲音。在這一次的參訪中,我們強烈的表達美國應該繼續支持台灣這個位於亞洲太平洋地區的民主模範生免於中國的武力威脅;同時也希望美國政府能夠支持台灣加入更多的國際組織,當急之要便是協助台灣取得世界衛生組織觀察員的身分。我們認為如果中國真的視台灣為她的一部分,又怎麼能夠眼看著自家人在災難當中犧牲受苦呢?所以我們也讓美國會議員了解台灣人在歷經了九二一大地震和SARS事件之後加入世衛的重要性和急迫性。

我非常感謝美國福爾摩莎基金會給我這個寶貴的機會和經驗,讓我能夠為國家貢獻自己一點微不足道的心力。

Cathy

Andrea Lau              Class of 2004

During the program, my main goal was to increase my understanding about Taiwan’s current situation and to learn how to become a more involved advocate for Taiwan. Having survived the grueling hours of lectures and workshops, I felt confident that I hold the tools necessary to continue actively promoting American support for Taiwan. However, after listening to the many inspiring talks given by people who are so passionate about their life’s work, I believe the most vital tool is something all of us without a doubt already possess – heart.  As Congressman David Wu stated so fervently in his speech, we should never allow anyone to make us feel that the things we are striving for are not important. With that, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Mr. Li-Pei Wu and the Formosa Foundation who have given me a learning experience that I will always treasure.

(Andrea is a Chinese American who wants to make more people understand that Taiwan is not a part of China.)

Joyce

經過這次的經歷,我深深的以身為台美人為傲

鄭家樂22歲 加州伯克萊大學畢業生 雙修認知科學和經濟學

在眾參議會大樓內部穿梭馬不停蹄的拜訪美國國會議員們的那幾天,自己宛如成為了推動美國政府運作的一份子。由於這次親善大使一共拜訪了百餘位美國國會議員,聲勢之浩大,到最後走在走廊上還被議員助理們認出來而熱情地跟我們打招呼。

雖然每一位議員對兩岸關係的看法不一定與我們相同,但他們還是挪出他們寶貴的時間,寧聽我們的顧慮和意見。這些議員對市井小民的尊重,使我由衷的敬佩美國的制度與民主的實踐。希望有朝一日,台灣的立法院也可以如此一般,讓民眾拜訪和參與立法的過程。

經過這次的經歷,我深深的以身為台美人為傲。雖然台灣的民主建立及她在國際間的發展仍有很長的路要走,但我相信只要有像各親善大使這樣愛國愛台灣的青年們,願意繼續由內部推展民主的進行,台灣的未來會是明亮的。

Cathy

Holiday Dmitri         Class of 2003

Holiday Dmitri Class of 2003

Participating in the Ambassador Program offered me the opportunity to better understand U.S.-China-Taiwan relations. Additionally, the Program gave me the chance to personally observe the inter-workings of government. Seeing Congressman Pete Stark moved from his meeting with my group, and hearing from his colleague Congressman Sherrod Brown that Stark promised he would do anything for Taiwan, fueled my conviction that one person can really make a difference in changing policy. It completely reenergized my aspiration to work and play on the Hill. In addition, the chance to learn first hand the intricacies of the legislative process added to the thrill. I had such an amazing time in the Ambassador Program, and I want to thank the Formosa Foundation for providing me with this invaluable opportunity.

Holiday currently worksfor the Cato Institute as Senior Manager of Media Relations, heading multiple campaigns on foreign policy, national security, and trade and immigration policy issues. She previously worked as Tony Snows head of research at the Fox News Channelin Washington D.C. Holiday obtained a B.S. in Journalism from the Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism, and a M.A. in Social Science from the University of Chicago.

Corina

因為台灣社會將太多的焦點放在政黨競合與八卦新聞上,使生活在這裡的人們逐漸對“國際社會”感到麻木”

陳盈如 23歲 台灣大學政治學研究所碩士班一年級

也許是長期以來台灣在外交上的挫敗令人感到沮喪或無以為力,而使我們不願去面對某些重要的問題;也許是因為台灣社會將太多的焦點放在政黨競合與八卦新聞上,使生活在這裡的人們逐漸對“國際社會”感到麻木。作為一位社會科學的學生,對於這種現象除了感到不滿外,也有一股強烈的危機感。這次有幸擔任親善大使實地走訪美國國會,並與多位台美人及其他關心台灣的學生交流,內心所受到的衝擊是如此震撼且深刻。因為,在遙遠的異國,竟感受到比台灣當地人更強烈的對家鄉的愛,雖然這些來自世界各地的大使對台灣所知有限,有些甚至只停留在父母教給他們的記憶中,但談及台灣,他們總會以驕傲的口吻訴說自己與台灣的關係。這裡的每個人都有自己努力為台灣的理由,而當這些微小的力量聚集起來,便成為我們不怕遭拒絕、勇敢並熱切地將支持台灣的訊息傳達給國會議員們最大的動力。

一直以來,我都站在台灣看台灣的問題,這次造訪讓我了解,原來站在不同位置的人所關心所憂慮的台灣問題差異竟是如此之大,原來國外對於台灣在國際社會的地位有著不同的觀察與體認。台灣與國際社會間需要有更多的相互理解與溝通,不只是政治層面的外交關係,而這些,正是我們可以盡一己之力之處。

Cathy

Linda Hou                Class of 2003

The Ambassador Program was one of the best experiences of my life. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to learn a bit more about Taiwan, to be equipped by the Program with the accurate information and skills needed to take advocacy on behalf of Taiwan to a higher level. But most of all, I am indebted to the Ambassador Program for renewing in me the intangible—a deeper love for Taiwan and the inspiration to continue to fight.

Linda is currently attending medical school at the University of Southern California.

Mitch

經濟的繁榮與選擇的自由讓民眾得到幸福      

蔡沐學21歲南加州大學應屆畢業生 國際關係學

這趟華盛頓特區之旅我們見到了到關島的代表─瑪德萊娜。在我們與她的會談中,她表達了她把台灣當作是經濟發展、人權以及自決之典範的看法。她強調台灣人擁有決定自己最終命運的權利,而參與自己命運的決策是一個普世的人權。經濟的繁榮與選擇的自由讓民眾得到幸福。她發現台灣與關島這兩個小島具有許多的共通點。我為台灣人民尋求民族自決與人權的聲音,得到了其他人民的回應與支持,感到雀躍。

Cathy

Jessica Jenq           Class of 2003

By the end of the program, I felt everyone worked as if he or she had known each other all their lives. I remember constantly asking myself, ‘Where else would do I ever get the opportunity to build strong relationships with people whose passion equals my own about Taiwan lobbying for the same cause?’”  

Jessica currently attends New York University.

Tom

她只能旁觀,不能展開她翅膀並且顯示身體中蘊含著無限潛能。現在的她只能夢想著自由                 周彥廷20歲 Tufts塔夫茲大學國際關係與經濟系 三年級

身為在國外環境裡長大的新一代台灣人,我經常無助地看著國內的政治鬥爭如野火般展開,同時國際間有許多報告指出台灣正面臨壓倒性外交破局。這好像我正看一隻美麗的鳥被鎖在小小的鳥籠裡,限制著她翅膀的伸展,她的自由。 當同類在她上方的天空自由地飛翔時,她只能旁觀,不能展開她翅膀並且顯示身體中蘊含著無限潛能。現在的她只能夢想著自由。

這次由福爾摩沙基金會贊助的參訪美國國會的旅程中,我們發現了一盞明燈。在拜會美國國會議員Mike Ross的幕僚長就是一個例子。 當我們談論我們的故事, 從SARS爆發被國際醫療團體拒絕而造成台灣居住人民的恐慌,到對岸飛彈的部署針對無罪的居民,我們觸動幕僚長的同情心。雖然未曾與這個島有過接觸,透過我們的引述讓她了解台灣人所面對的恐懼。我看著她原先的笑容逐漸變成一種憂心和同情的面色,她給我們欣慰且令人鼓舞的回應。然後她向我們保證她將激發的其他阿肯薩州的國會議員,也有著相同的關心。

Cathy

Shin Shoji                 Class of 2003

Participating in the 2003 Ambassador Program has changed my pessimistic outlook on the issue [of support for Taiwan’s cause]. I have realized that I am not alone in my concern for my ancestral homeland. In fact, the Program gave me opportunities to meet and talk to many people of all walks of life in their interest and advocacy for Taiwan. In this sense, the Program has been a very fulfilling experience.”

Shin graduated from the Johns Hopkins University studying International Relations.  He is currently living in Japan.

Kyle

我認為新上任的議員們是個值得我們努力的對象      范凱云24歲東吳大學政治學研究所

根據這些與國會議員面談的經驗,我認為新上任的議員們是值得我們努力的對象。因為這些人對於國際政治的涉入尚不深、具有理想性,加上深受美國民主、自決、人權的價值所影響,對於台灣的接受度較高。每當我們提及台灣受到中國欺壓的恐懼的時候,她們總會露出同情與支持的神情。相對,資深的議員或者助理有太多的現實考量,因此往往都只是同情,卻不敢在敏感的議題上表達支

Ting

大家一個比一個還有精神幾乎到了超越人體負荷的地步因為我們是自願的

葉介庭22歲哈佛大學畢業生化學系畢

想到Formosa Foundation Ambassador’s Program,感想是:真的不是普通人在幹的事。每天早上六點半床,先打電話給國會議員辦公室約時間,然後跑到辦公室一邊喝維他命飲料一邊找資料,九點到六點上課, 狼吞虎嚥把晚餐吃了之後又回到辦公室,還跟室友聊完八卦到半夜兩點才睡...在華盛頓每天跑七場面談,在要命的日光下複習下一場要講的內容,晚上還要準備隔天的面談。沒想到...大家一個比一個還有精神,幾乎到了超越人體負荷的地步!因為...我們是自願的。大家都對台灣有一種莫名的關愛,對台灣的情感是我們這一群人的共同點,也是我們無論如何也要守護的信念。

在國會議員辦公室裡想傳達的,也就是這種對台灣的熱誠.在與國會議員會面之後讓我印象最深的就是 Congressman James Langevin。他在委員會質詢當中抽出時間與我們會面.雖然坐著輪椅,他還是一一跟我們握手,也向我們為台灣的努力致敬。還有許多的議員也都表明支持台灣的價值觀,雖然議員們也提到了事情的複雜性跟他們的能力有限,我覺得台灣的處境還是有許多人在關注的。

國會活動的成功要歸功於 Formosa Foundation 的指導員與團員──他們對時事的見解,對責任的敬業,對理念的執著,都讓我感動。我相信跟我們見過面的議員與助理也會有同樣的感觸。.

我們的努力讓台灣的故事有更多的人聽到,也讓台灣在國會山莊裡的朋友讓知道我讓支持他們。雖然兩個禮拜下來我們透支了我們的體力。可是為了台灣,再辛苦也是值得的。