【NEWS】Mausoleum Classroom: IMAS-IAD Workshop in Taoyuan

【Article by College of Social Sciences】
On March 10-11, students of the International Master’s Program in Asia-Pacific Studies (IMAS) were invited to participate in a joint workshop, titled “Taiwan and the Changing World: Before and After the Pandemic,” with the International Affairs and Diplomacy Program (IAD), Ming Chuan University (MCU) in Taoyuan. Dr. Pasha L Hsieh, the Jean Monnet Chair Professor at the Law School of Singapore Management University, was also invited to serve as the keynote speaker. He stated that after the pandemic, “the economic integration in the Asia-Pacific would confront more social and political crises, therefore this workshop is very timely for young scholars to understand opportunities and challenges in this region”.

Four research ideas were presented in this workshop. Two were from IAD: Elisa Lenker Andrade’s “How State Nationalism Evolves: A Comparative Study of Contemporary China and USA (2012-2022),” and Nell Damara Usher’s “An Investigation on the Identity of Belizean Students in Taiwan as the Result of having Dual Regional Identity.” The other two were from IMAS: Ethan Knecht’s “A Comparative Study of Parental Leave in Hong Kong and Taiwan” and Tobias Larkin’s “Sustainable Development? The Case of Treasure Hill.” During the presentation, in addition to questions raised by students from both IAD and IMAS, Professor Kumari Mansi from Amity University Haryana, as well as MCU professors Ting-ting Chang and Li-kai Hsiao, provided revision suggestions and different theoretical perspectives for students. Nathan K.H. Liu, IAD director, was pleased with this cross-university cooperation and looks forward to further academic exchanges with partner institutes.

After the academic exchanges, IMAS students visited Black Bat Squadron Memorial Hall in Hsinchu City. Matthew Ortiz, who was an officer in the US armed forces, was responsible to give all participants a lecture regarding the cooperation between this squadron and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He indicated that Black Bat Squadron conducted reconnaissance and electronic intelligence gathering missions over mainland China. It also operated in Vietnam together with the US during the Vietnam War. Overall, the Squadron lost 15 aircrafts and 148 lives from 1952 to 1972.

Visiting historical memorials was a main theme of this workshop. Students stayed overnight in the MCU Visiting Scholar Dormitory, and left for Mausoleums of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo. IMAS Director, Professor Philip Hsiaopong Liu, used these two Mausoleums as a classroom to give students a lecture: “US Aid and Taiwan’s Development: Black Bat Squadron and Shimen Dam during Chiang Kai-shek’s Era.” This lecture was assisted by two IMAS students. Natcha Lee was responsible for Chiang Ching-kuo’s economic and political policies. When Tinggi Sinaga talked about Chiang Kai-shek’s role in modern China and Taiwan, his presentation attracted other tourists, including a very senior veteran in tears.

Professor Liu argued that during the Cold War, Taiwan’s military value secured American economic aid. IMAS students then visited Shimen Dam, where Harley Ganna indicated that the reservoir project was initiated during the Japanese colonial era, but was realized by American aid during the early 1960s. She said there were so many American engineers that a local road was nicknamed American Road, which now became its official name “Meiguo Road (美國路).”

In addition to introducing the reservoir, Harley Ganna was also responsible for selecting a big reservoir fish, which later was cooked in five different methods for lunch. After the lunch, students went to Taoyuan Sake Brewery. Faith Woods indicated that this Brewery was a light industry established in 1915 during Japanese colonization and witnessed Taiwan’s alcohol monopoly policy in the past century.

Students found that this study trip taught them more than they learned in classrooms, and looked forward to next event. Director Liu explained that IMAS used to hold joint workshops with other universities regularly, and in 2020, went as far as Matsu Islands where National Ocean University was located. Due to the Pandemic, this is the first time since March 2021 joint workshop with Tamkang University. IMAS will continue to seek for cooperation with other universities, within or out of Taiwan, for academic exchanges and local cultural immersion.

The Opening of IAD-IMAS Workshop. (Photo by CSS)
IAD Faculty Members and Students. (Photo by CSS)
Keynote Speaker: The Jean Monnet Chair Professor at the Law School of Singapore Management University. (Photo by CSS)
Tobias Larkin’s Presentation. (Photo by CSS)