On the morning of 6 March 2014, H.E. Ambassador Minute Alapati Taupo attended the “2014 Youth Ambassadors Exchange Program Kick-off Ceremony and Press Conference” hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) at Taipei’s Chientan Youth Activity Center. Ambassador Taupo was joined at the event by the Ambassadors of Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Saint Christopher and Nevis, and Sao Tome and Principe; representatives from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland, the American Institute in Taiwan, and the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei; as well as officials from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the China Youth Corps. Opening remarks at the event were delivered by Vanessa Y.P. Shih, Vice Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Chang Te-tsung, Director of the China Youth Corps; H.E. William Tapia, Ambassador for Nicaragua; and Ms. Shen Hsin-ling, the Youth Ambassadors Program spokesperson.
Following several speeches and performances by drumming, acrobatics, and dance groups from National Taiwan University of Arts, an official launch ceremony for the 2014 Exchange Program was held, during which Ambassador Taupo was invited to act as the Honorary Captain for the Program’s Asia-Pacific Group 1. After Honorary Captains for all legs of the Exchange Program gathered on stage, the Program for 2014 was declared to have officially commenced.
This year, the “Youth Ambassadors Exchange Program” is organized by the China Youth Corps under the auspices of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Now in its sixth year, the program currently entails an intensive three-tiered application process, after which 128 Taiwanese students are selected to participate in the program and divided into eight groups. These groups are sent to eight separate areas across the world to enhance relationships between Taiwan and countries with which it maintains friendly or official diplomatic ties, and Tuvalu is specifically featured as a stop for Youth Ambassadors in the Program’s Asia-Pacific Group 1, which travels to Australia, Fiji, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands. In addition to solidifying international relationships, the objectives of the program include increasing global understandings of Taiwan’s “flexible diplomacy” policy, enhancing Taiwan’s image on the international stage, encouraging cultural exchange, and assisting young people in gaining an improved appreciation for international affairs.