【Article by College of Social Sciences】
Meet Jack Burns, the Alabama-born outdoorsman studying in the International Master’s Program in Asia-Pacific Studies (IMAS) at National Chengchi University (NCCU). Picture this: during a casual morning stroll on campus, Jack decides to unleash his hidden hunting talents. In a jaw-dropping display of prowess, he snags a wild boar from the hills and triumphantly captures two crocodiles from the nearby creek….
But hold your horses—don’t be fooled! It turns out Jack is no fearless hunter. Instead, he’s an undercover animal lover with a heart of gold. As it turns out, Jack was simply lending a helping hand to a master chef, lending his skills to prepare an epic brunch for his fellow IMAS classmates, professors, and friends.
On May 19th, during the NCCU’s 96th anniversary celebration, IMAS coordinated with the College of Social Sciences and the Master’s Program of Land Policy and Environmental Planning for Indigenous Peoples to organize a Taiwanese and Australian Indigenous-style barbecue at the NCCU Arts and Culture Center. The event was attended by distinguished guests, including the NCCU President, Vice President for International Cooperation, the Dean of the College of Social Sciences, IMAS teachers, and students. Bakan Pawan, the Chairperson of the Taipei City Government Indigenous Peoples Affairs Commission and a member of the Seediq Tribe, also joined the brunch. She even delivered a speech in the Seediq language.
Several diplomatic representatives joined this event, including, in alphabetical order of countries, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Candice Augusta Pitts from Belize, Deputy Representative Jakub Kopecký from the Czech Republic, Commercial Counselor Hugo Sanic from Guatemala, Francisco J. Martinez, Chief of Economic and Trade Affairs, Mexican Trade Services Documentation and Cultural Office; Deputy Representative Aleksei Kotelnikov from Russia, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Robert K. Lewis from Saint Lucia, Representative Mohamed Hagi from Somaliland, Chief of Thai Community Phonlakrit Warawat from the Thailand Trade and Economic Office, and Cindy Guo, Political Officer from the United States (American Institute in Taiwan, AIT). Bernise Springer, the first secretary who accompanied Ambassador Dr. Robert K. Lewis from Saint Lucia, speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and is also an IMAS graduate himself.
The event also attracted international scholars such as Dr. Randall Nadeau, Executive Director of the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan); Sabella Abidde, professor at Alabama State University; Nnanna Arukwe, professor at the University of Nigeria; Chen Chung-an, professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; Richard A. Nyelade, lecturer at the University of Ottawa in Canada; and documentary filmmaker, Tobie Openshaw from South Africa.
With the support of these esteemed diplomatic and academic guests, IMAS achieved outstanding results in sports competitions, winning the tug-of-war and dragon ball competitions. In individual events, Josiah Spain secured second place in the long jump and fourth place in the 100-meter dash, Natcha Lee placed fourth place in shot put, and Jan Broese came in third in the 5,000-meter run. Their remarkable performance led IMAS to clinch the overall team championship, marking the program’s best athletic achievement in its twenty-year history.
After the competitions concluded, students and esteemed guests gathered to enjoy a unique culinary experience. The menu featured an Australian Indigenous crocodile meal, showcasing the rich flavors of the region. Taiwanese Indigenous cuisine took center stage with a lavish wild boar feast accompanied by millet wine, a true delicacy. Considering the diverse religious backgrounds of many participants, the event also catered to various preferences by offering steak, whole chickens, and an array of vegetables.
Adding to the festive atmosphere, traditional Indigenous Taiwanese costumes were provided for all guests, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the cultural ambiance during the meal. This unforgettable experience not only provided an opportunity to relish the scenic beauty of the campus nestled amidst hills and water, but also allowed everyone to witness the vibrant and multicultural learning environment that IMAS offers to its international students.
Professor Philip Hsiaopong Liu, the director of IMAS, emphasizes that the program frequently arranges cultural dinners, inter-university exchanges, workshops, and field trips to provide students with a deeper understanding of Taiwanese culture, history, and society, as well as the opportunity to compare Taiwanese society with the Greater Asia-Pacific and the world. He extends a warm welcome to students from all over the globe, encouraging them to come study under the IMAS program and personally experience the unique opportunities it has to offer.