Young Faces

Ever since the year 1971 when Taiwan quitted the United Nations, there have been ongoing disputes over this incident and Taiwan’s international participation has been impacted negatively to a great extent. Yet many NGOs have also made great efforts in trying to gain back Taiwan’s international space.

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On July 21st 2012, Bi-khim was invited by TAIUNA (The Taiwan United Nations Alliance) to speak to the youths about the difficulties Taiwan has faced in the past and how the people of Taiwan should go about engaging the world. Soon after Bi-khim started sharing her experiences in the area of diplomacy, she got fairly touched by all the young faces she saw. Like Bi-khim was twenty years ago when she was still a student, all the young people there were very patriotic and extremely energized in trying to improve Taiwan’s foreign relations.

Bi-khim took a semester off during her undergraduate career and came back to Taiwan to participate in similar activities and events that seek to promote Taiwan’s return to the United Nations. Knowing that no significant progress has been made over the last two decades was rather disappointing for Bi-khim. Yet, the fact that many people, especially the young people sitting in front of her, now actually care about Taiwan’s foreign affairs has really made Bi-khim proud and optimistic.

Bi-khim was not at all interested in politics until she went to Oberlin College where she began to see Taiwan from a global perspective; therefore, she started to challenge the historical viewpoints of herself since then. During Bi-khim’s years at Oberlin, she worked at the East Asian Library of Oberlin College that was supervised by a Taiwanese librarian who had collected a lot of books that Bi-khim never got chances to read when she was in Taiwan because of martial law. That was what got Bi-khim into the aspect of how Taiwan is viewed by the international community. Some of the students there were just undergraduate students and neither did not have much practical experiences in international relations or diplomacy, but they certainly gained something valuable after listening to Bi-khim’s talk. Although Bi-khim stories may be different from that of the students there, but there was indeed one thing that all of them shared; that is, the sentiment of being Taiwanese and hoping for international recognition.

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“although it is very difficult for Taiwan to participate in the international arena, there are still a lot of things that Taiwanese can do and roles that we can play in this process and we should have faith as well as confidence in our ability to do so”……Bi-khim. This may be nothing but a simple sentence for many people, but for students there listening, it was undoubtedly very inspirational and encouraging.

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