University News

Taiwan issue discussed in ‘strait’ chats

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, October 1, 2010

Correction appended

Strait Talk, a non-partisan dialogue group, is starting a series of informal, biweekly chats on Taiwan-China relations. The first chat was held on Sept. 22.

All upcoming sessions are open to everyone in the Brown community interested in learning more and talking about the Taiwan Strait issue.

The aim of the hour-long chats is to bring together people who are interested in the issue, according to Sarah Yu, former Strait Talk Symposium chair and a Herald opinions columnist. The chats will also be covered on the Watson Institute for International Studies blog Global Conversation. Dates for upcoming chats will be posted on Strait Talk’s Facebook and Twitter.

Strait Talk was initiated in 2005 by Johnny Lin ’08, who formed the group with other undergraduates, according to Strait Talk’s website. Lin grew up mainly in the U.S., but his family was separated by the conflict between China and Taiwan, according to Yu. The year 2005 marked a particularly sensitive period in Taiwan Strait politics, with the United States arming Taiwanese forces, and Lin thought it was time to get people together to discuss the issues, Yu said.

Every year, Strait Talk selects fifteen delegates who come together for a week-long symposium. This year’s symposium —the sixth since the program began — takes place from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5 at Brown. At each symposium, each party — Taiwan, mainland China and the U.S. — is represented by five delegates.

“The symposium has been consistent and successful on the Brown campus,” said Alina Kung ’12, the Strait Talk Symposium chair.

The symposium ends with a presentation, open to the public, of the final consensus report agreed to by all fifteen delegates, providing recommendations on the Taiwan Strait issue, Yu said. The report will later be presented at the Asia Society in New York City where it will be introduced to policy makers and researchers, Kung said.  

Delegates are selected through an application process and must be under 30 years of age and able to represent an American, Taiwanese or Chinese perspective on the conflict. Applicants come from many universities in the U.S., though, historically, Brown tends to produce more applicants than other schools, Yu said. This year’s deadline for submitting applications — which can be found on Strait Talk’s website — is Friday, Oct. 8.

As an organization, Strait Talk has grown every year since 2005, according to Kung, and now includes a chapter at the University of California at Berkeley. Kung characterized the group as a space for “game changers in the global community.”

An earlier version of this article gave the incorrect deadline for applications. Applications for Taiwan and U.S. delegations are due Oct. 8. The Herald regrets the errors.