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The 2018 Indonesian Cultural Festival
On March 27th a charming gathering of bright-eyed students took place on the square in front of the General Education Building to celebrate the annual Indonesian Cultural Festival at NPUST. As the university’s vice-president, Dr. Chung-Ruey Yen, and Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei (IETO) senior assistant, Mrs Mulyansari kicked off the event, they thanked the Indonesian students for making NPUST into the type of multicultural environment that it is. Vice-President Yen also expressed his gratitude to the IETO and Indonesian Student Association for their efforts and shared his anticipation that the festival would be a great opportunity for Indonesian students to interact with local ones and make new friends. The organizers did a fine job of bringing Indonesian culture to life on campus, with traditional Indonesian performances, music, games, a fashion show and authentic cuisine. Among these included a song and dance tradition local to Sumatera Utara called the “Tari Tor-Tor”. Dressed in full costume, students danced to music in a performance which represents the convening and transmigration of souls. Participants also enjoyed “Tahu Tek”, a tasty dish made of rice noodles, bean curd, bean sprouts and a traditional Indonesian sauce. They also cooled off with some “Cendol”, a beverage made of coconut milk, sugar water and bean starch vermicelli. Students and teachers had a great time interacting with one another as they enjoyed the festivities. And in order to help facilitate communication between the participants of different backgrounds, the activity organizers coordinated with the NPUST Language Center to design a special language learning handout. Over the years, the internationalization of NPUST has been very successful. Currently, the university is home to 780 international students; 36 of which are of Indonesian nationality. Indonesia is itself a multicultural environment, with art, religions, languages and customs unique to its various islands. Thus, in addition to bringing students and teachers together for an enjoyable experience, the festival was designed to provide participants with a great opportunity learn something new about the archipelago nation south of Taiwan which is known as the “Emerald of the Equator”.
NPUST Opens New Training Program for Southeast Asian Talent
Along the course mapped out by the Taiwan “New Southbound Policy”, the NPUST Department of Biomechatronic Engineering is moving forward with a program designed to provide Southeast Asian talent with new skills in biomechatronic agricultural technology. A special ceremony marking the commencement of the “Department of Biomechatronics Engineering International Youth Short-Term Training Program” (生物機電工程系外國青年短期技術訓練班) was held on March 20th at the First Meeting Room in the NPUST Administration Building. Gvernment, business and academic representatives from Taiwan and Thailand were in attendance, with Taiwan figures including MOE Technical and Vocational Education Division Vice-Counselor of Education, Jialin Chang, COA Agriculture & Food Agency, Southern Regional Branch director Zhiwang Yao, Pingtung Department of Agriculture director Kuo-Jung Huang, and the general manager of Dali Organic Medicinal Co.,Ltd. Thailand’s former Minister of Education, Prof. Dr. Wichit Srisa-an, and President of Thailand’s Suranaree University of Technology were among the Thai representatives. 20 students from Maejo University, one of NPUST’s sister-universities in Thailand, are enrolled for the present term, which will provide them with 3 months of training in power operated machinery and agricultural equipment. The Thai government has recently been promoting the “Thailand 4.0” project, and, as a model in the region for agriculture technology and engineering, Taiwan is partnering up with Thailand to help contribute to their development progress. The special program offered by the Department of Biomechatronics is primarily designed to educate students on power machinery and equipment for agriculture; including, for example, the management of soil preparation equipment and smart agricultural instrumentation. In addition to regular classes, students will also take part in off-campus practical learning, visit related exhibitions and experience Taiwanese cultural activities. In order to add depth to the exchange, the Thai students will be paired up with study partners from the Department of Biomechatronics Engineering Student Association and counselors have been designated to offer assistance. Additionally, Thai students currently enrolled in degree programs at NPUST will help the short-term class get orientated at the university, overcome language barriers and quickly adapt to life in Taiwan. Having recently returned from visiting several partners in Southeast Asia, NPUST’s President, Chang-Hsien Tai, reflected on the excellent agricultural resources that Thailand is home to and the great opportunities for development that exist there. He also pointed out that “much of the current education in Thailand has been focused on basic agricultural techniques.” However, “as part of Taiwan and Thailand’s industry-government-academic cooperation strategies, NPUST is offering short or long-term training programs to cultivate agriculture professionals in the region and create a three-way win for government, academia and industry.”
NPUST, NPU and Meiho Launch Co-Creative Alliance
The Innovation Incubator Centers (創新育成中心) of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), National Pingtung University (NPU) and Meiho University (MU) have established a new alliance with the aim of giving root to local industry while supporting and cultivating Pingtung’s manufacturing operations. On March 9th, 2018 a ceremony was held at the at the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park Management Center marking the establishment of the “Pingtung County Local Industry Co-Creation Alliance” (屏東縣在地產業創生機構聯盟). NPUST President Chang-Hsien Tai, NPU Vice-President Sheau-Wen Lin and Meiho Vice-President Yu Jen Wu represented their universities at the launching of the alliance. NPUST’s Chang-Hsien Tai was also re-elected to continue serving as president of the Academia-Industry Consortium for Agricultural Biotechnology Park. Under the newly established partnership, the three incubation centers will share information and experience in a cooperative effort to strengthen industry in Pingtung. The combined research capacity resultant from this industry-government-academia initiative will be directed at improving the product quality and competitiveness of local businesses. A number of local industrial zone representatives were invited to be present for the kick-off and to offer direction and advice, including the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park director, Dr. Su-San Chang; Neipu Industrial Park Service Center Director, Hsu Ching-huang, Neipu Industrial Park Manufacturing Advancement Association president, Ji-Hsing Li, Pingtung Export Processing Zone deputy-director, Yuanfang Wang. There were also over 100 agriculture-business and university representatives present for the occasion. The alliance will work to integrate NPUST’s smart agriculture technology with Meiho University’s product verification and value-adding methods and Pingtung University’s cultural and creative techniques. A trajectory has been set to transform the agriculture industry by moving towards automation, improving technology and commercializing products. In the future, the alliance will set up an inter-university database for scholars, providing a comprehensive service for sharing resources. To expand access to outside resources, small and medium size companies will be encouraged to participate in friendly exchange activities. The alliance will also host entrepreneurship lectures, business matchmaking events and exhibitions to promote the different strengths of the three universities and create opportunities for academics from different backgrounds to help meet the needs of incubating companies, thus improving the effectiveness of the incubation processes.