President Tsai, former President Ma, Congressman Harper, Chairman Moriarty, Director Moy, Ambassador Moser, and distinguished guests, good morning to all of you.
It is a pure delight for me to be back in Taiwan, to see many longtime friends and to make new ones on such a historic and momentous occasion. I am honored to be here to help open AIT’s new home.
The New Office Complex is beautiful, and I want to congratulate the people who have worked tirelessly to turn this dream to reality.
I also want to acknowledge that it represents much more than steel and glass and concrete. The New Office Complex is a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the U.S.-Taiwan partnership in the 21stcentury.
It’s because of this extraordinary friendship that I knew I had to be a part of today’s dedication ceremony. And so I made Taiwan my first stop on my first overseas mission in my new capacity as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The United States’ journey has been remarkable. Our leaders believed that everyone should have a voice, and that people from all backgrounds could be unified by their shared ideals. We have faced many trials along this journey, but we have risen to the challenge at every turn, knowing that our shared commitment to democracy would see us through.
I see here today people who hold these same convictions and possess this same courage. Over the past decades, Taiwan has formed its own deep convictions about the importance of democracy. With courage against long odds and great adversity, the people of Taiwan have constructed gleaming cities and developed an advanced economy. They have cultivated a robust civil society and built a vibrant multiparty democracy.
We may be separated by a great ocean, but our shared convictions, values, and trust form a strong foundation for cooperation across a range of issues.
Taiwan is a top U.S. trading partner, whose microprocessors power our most advanced technology, and whose cooks transform U.S. agricultural products into one of the world’s most delicious cuisines. Taiwan is the 7th largest source of international students in the United States, and our Fulbright Program celebrated its 60th anniversary last year.
The United States also supports a variety of professional and cultural exchanges with Taiwan, as well as English-language programs. And I am proud to note that a number of our exchange alumni have returned to Taiwan to play leadership roles. Last year almost 4,000 travelers from Taiwan participated in private sector exchanges to work, travel, and study in America. Taiwan visitors enjoy visa-free travel to the United States through the Visa Waiver Program, and last year Taiwan joined the Global Entry program to streamline international arrivals process at U.S. airports.
From promoting cross-cultural understanding among youth and women’s empowerment to educating our next generation of leaders, academics, and researchers, our friendship brings the best out of both our peoples. It produces outcomes that are inherently good for our societies. And it lights the way for others in this world.
AIT’s new home is both a tangible symbol that reflects the strength of our ties, and a state-of-the-art facility that will make possible even greater cooperation for years to come.
Thank you, Taiwan, and thank you, AIT, for all your hard work in enabling us to realize this friendship’s fullest potential.
Thank you all.