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National Sun Yat-sen University signed MOU with Tuvalu, establishing a tie of international collaboration

(Provided by Office of Research and Development/Office of International Affairs) Ying-Yao Cheng, President of National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ampelosa Manoa Tehulu, the Minister of Public Works, Infrastructure and Environment of Tuvalu, at The Taipei Guest House on September 5th, 2022, witnessed by Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu and Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan. They jointly established the “Taiwan and Tuvalu Center on Marine Science and Engineering (TTCMSE)”. Both sides expect to conduct research, educational cooperation, and exchanges in marine biodiversity, marine geochemistry, and marine engineering. NSYSU is the exclusive university in Taiwan to have an agreement with Tuvalu.

According to NSYSU, Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano led a delegation on a state visit to Taiwan. In addition to signing the " Joint Communiqué on the Reaffirmation of Diplomatic Relations" with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he also signed MOUs with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ocean Affairs Council, and NSYSU. President Cheng said, as the only academic representative in Taiwan, NSYSU has continuously expanded the territory of international academic cooperation in recent years. Following Sri Lanka, Latvia and Lithuania, NSYSU also signed an MOU with Tuvalu to establish an overseas scientific research center, which is of great help to the academic exchanges and diplomatic relations between the two sides.

Located in the South Pacific Ocean with nine ring-shaped coral islands, Tuvalu is one of the 14 allied countries with diplomatic relations with Taiwan. President Cheng pointed out that Tuvalu and Taiwan are rich in marine life and plant resources. Under the impact of environmental changes such as global warming, ocean acidification, and sea level rise, both countries face daunting challenges in marine ecology and coastal conservation. As one of the leading universities in Taiwan, NSYSU is noted for research in marine sciences, especially in the research fields of the South China Sea internal waves, underwater sonar, climate change, ocean acidification, marine ecological conservation, as well as underwater vehicles. Over the years, NSYSU was designated by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to manage the "Dongsha Atoll Research Station". There are scientists and researchers from more than 29 countries conducting oceanographic research in the South China Sea, with an average of 2,000 visits per year, which is of great help to elevate the international academic reputation of NSYSU and Taiwan. NSYSU will also provide scholarships for Tuvalu students, and to expand the geographical area of diverse international student sources to enhance international influence and conduct academic diplomacy in different dimensions.

TTCMSE will be assisted by Chen-Tung Arthur Chen, Distinguished Chair Research Professor of NSYSU. Professor Chen’s outstanding research in marine science ranks him first in Asia and eighth in the world in terms of performance among 16,500 marine scientists. In the future, Professor Chen will leverage his research capacity to coordinate the team of NSYSU to conduct marine biogeochemical research in Tuvalu, focusing on the carbon cycle and building fish and plant diversity DNA database of Tuvalu, and developing marine natural products and medical-related applications. In addition to academic research, they will assist Tuvalu in data collection, establish local tsunami forecasting mechanisms, and provide assistance in maritime and ecological engineering.

At the invitation of the Taiwan government, Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano and Madam Selepa Kausea Natano came to Taiwan for a state visit from September 3-9, 2022. This is prime minister Natano's first visit to Taiwan since his inauguration in 2019. This month marks the 43rd anniversary of the forging diplomatic ties between our countries, which is of great significance. Other members of the Tuvaluan delegation include Minister of Public Works, Infrastructure and Environment Ampelosa Manoa Tehulu, Minister of Local Government and Agriculture Saaga Talu Teafa, Minister of Fisheries and Trade Kitiona Tausi, and Secretary to Government Tapugao Falefou. NSYSU was represented by President Ying-Yao Cheng, Distinguished Chair Research Professor Chen-Tung Arthur Chen, Vice President for International Affairs Mitch Ming-Chi Chou, Dean of the College of Marine Sciences Chin-Chang Hung and Associate Vice President for Research and Development Te-Yu Liao in attending the signing ceremony.

(Edited by Public Affairs Division)
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