Berkeley and Taiwan form an educational partnership

The China Post, a major English-language daily newspaper published in Taiwan, led the news this way: “The No. 1 public research university in the United States recently sealed an unprecedented cooperative partnership with 15 academic institutions in Taiwan to increase the international experience and exposure of talented local humanities and social sciences scholars through government-sponsored graduate studies.”

Thus the University of California, Berkeley became the first member of what Taiwan calls its Top University Strategic Alliance. The alliance was formed by Taiwan’s education ministry. (News reports reports on Berkeley’s signing on bogged down briefly on near-identical abbreviations — MOE for Ministry of Education and MOU for Memorandum of Understanding.)

In the pilot program with Berkeley, the education ministry will fund three years of graduate studies leading to a graduate degree in humanities and social sciences programs at UC Berkeley for graduates of 11 Taiwanese universities and scholars from four Taiwanese universities’ research centers.

“I am very excited about the partnership,” said Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in an interview with the Post. “There already exist other partnerships, mostly in the fields of sciences. But this partnering in social sciences and humanities is new.” He added, “The partnership is another step in the university’s commitment to research and advancement across a spectrum of studies. Berkeley is one of the few universities that aims to be comprehensively excellent across different fields from engineering to economics to journalism.”

Wen-Hsin Yeh, director of Cal’s Institute of East Asian Studies, said the program will enhance the exposure of UC Berkeley students and faculty to happenings and developments in East Asia and improve their inter-cultural competence to better prepare the next generation of decision-makers.