Scholarships offered during Taiwan visit

Marshall Islands Journal – June 24, 2011


By invitation of President Ma Ying-jeou, President Jurelang Zedkaia (pictured) is in Taipei, capital city of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and was greeted by President Ma Ying-jeou and First Lady Ma at the Presidential Palace last week prior to bilateral discussions and a formal luncheon hosted in honor of President Zedkaia and his delegation.

During the bilateral discussions, President Ma commended President Zedkaia on the successful climate change conference jointly hosted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Columbia University. Among other topics touched upon were ROC’s vocational training program in the Marshall Islands which President Zedkaia said was hugely successful, along with the youth ambassadors program, the Laura Farm and other agricultural initiatives, the sister city relationship between Majuro and Taipei (established in 1998 when President Ma was mayor of Taipei City and President Zedkaia was a Majuro Senator), other cultural exchange programs, and the upcoming Marshall Islands November general elections.

The same day, President Zedkaia and delegation attended a formal evening dinner hosted by Minister of Foreign Affairs, C.T. Yang and his wife. At dinner, Foreign Minister John Silk sought his counterpart’s assistance for approval of a permit that has been held up and would enable the release of a fishing vessel slated for Marshall Islands. Minister Silk also brought up the possibility of a loan by Marshall Islands Development Bank for assistance in the housing development programs of the Marshall Islands government.Minister Yang promised to look into the two issues. Yang proposed ROC’s assistance to provide help in the form of scholarships for two medical students of the Marshall Islands.

His proposal was warmly welcomed by President Zedkaia, who said that one of the main stumbling blocks for Marshallese students in pursuing longer educational programs overseas was their home-sickness. Minister Yang responded by saying that ROC’s scholarships would be used for schools in the region. Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides 600,000 Taiwan dollars to the Ministry of Health which is equally divided among three sectors: medicine and equipment, doctors’ salaries (including bringing in qualified doctors from abroad), and the education of local doctors.

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