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WILD LIFE x White Bear Project – Joint Photo Exhibition
United by a common interested, Jimmy Beunardeau and Sheng-Wen Lo, two photographers following two separate paths, recently put on a joint exhibition in Pingtung to display their works and motivations. On September 27th, 2018 a press conference was held at the Pingtung Art Museum for the exhibit which will run from September 29th to October 16th. While the exhibit is running, professional scholars from the NPUST Rescue Center have also been invited to provide lectures on wild animal protection and share related information with distinguished guests and members of the public. Speaking on one of the focal points of the photos, NPUST Vice President Shui-Jen Chen shared that “the NPUST Rescue Center has been operating for 26 years and has provided shelter for nearly 30 thousand protected animals. Through the eyes of the photographer, we can get a deeper sense of the fear and unease that wild animals feel in captivity. We hope that through the photo exhibition, we will be able to spread ideas about wildlife protection and allow the public to gain a greater respect for life and appreciation for nature.” NPUST professor and director of the Rescue Center, Jai-Chyi Pei, said that “more than half of the wild animals which come into the shelter are animals which were captured illegally, smuggled or held in captivity and then abandoned. The experience that the animals are subject to makes it difficult for them to return to the wild. People are interested for a while and raise and take care of them for a couple years; they are then abandoned and may then need to be taken care of in a shelter for several decades. Apart from harm caused to the individual animals, there is also the broader damage that is done to the species and the ecosystems. We hope the photo exhibit can help spread news on the problem of illegal animal trade. We also hope that we can attract the attention of society and promote introspection and improvement.” Entitled “WILD-LIFE x White Bear Project”, the exhibit is a silent conversation between two portfolios. It is also a silent conversation between the viewers and the animals in the photographs – the viewers and their inner voices. WILD-LIFE was captured on film by French Photographer Jimmy Beunardeau during his time travelling in Taiwan. As an animal lover, Beunardeau personally reached out to NPUST’s Professor Mei-Hsiu Hwang, who is an expert on Taiwan black bear protection, and expressed his desire to use his photography skills to give a voice to the wild animals. Beunardeau visited the animals at the Rescue Center at NPUST to capture the the animals on film in a series of photos that touch the heart. The White Bear Project is the product of Sheng-Wen Lo, a photographer and master’s of art student, currently studying in Holland. Since 2014, he has visited 26 zoos keeping famous polar bears in Europe and China to take photos for his collection. In 2018, his work won him 3rd place for Digital Narrative at the World Press Photo (WPP) competition – making him the first Taiwanese photographer to win the award.
Public Sponsored Agriculture Program Broadens Opportunity for Young Farmers
As a university which was established on agriculture, NPUST has been very fertile soil when it comes to the cultivation of agriculture technology professionals. And now, a new program oriented towards those who are farmers by trade, looks to put new tools in the hands of its students. In September of 2017, the university established the state sponsored professional “Technological Agriculture Bachelor’s Program”, which focuses on the recruitment of generational agriculturalists and uses occupational farming as the foundation for teaching. The courses emphasize the practical capabilities, starting from the basics, with the goal of equipping students with skills which they will be able to use to find solutions to difficult problems. This semester marks the beginning of the second session of the program and the number of students who have registered has increased dramatically since the initial offering. To get the new students into the groove, on September 5th 2018, Dr. Chun-Nan Lin, who is both an assistant professor at the Department of Agribusiness Management and Chief of the Education Division at the Office of Continuing Education and Extension, led them on a field trip to the Jiadong Township Aquaculture Production and Marketing Class and Tama Shokunin Green House for an experiential activity. The students got deeply involved in the activity and had a great time. The NPUST’s publicly sponsored Technological Agriculture Bachelor’s Program not only gives students an understanding of the industry, but also emphasizes the promotion and practice of production, operations and marketing so that students can apply the theoretic concepts they learn to the real world and take methods of integration, logic and comprehensive thinking with them as they approach their future businesses enterprises. The goal is also to helps them to understand that agriculture is an industry worth investing in. The new program’s director, Dr. Ke-Chung Peng, who is also director of the of the Department of Agribusiness Management and the Office of Continuing Education and Extension, expressed that the that the Technological Agriculture program is working with many interdisciplinary (livestock, aquaculture, plant industry, biotech, etc.) professionals from industry and academia in Taiwan to give students an opportunity to learn and get a real understanding of the work needs to be done to get from zero to 1. Division Chief Chun-Nan Lin encouraged the students by saying that “the main point is knowing how to survive in the industry. As long as your target is wide enough and deep enough, developing opportunity in agriculture, forestry, aquaculture or livestock rearing is not a problem. The wider your scope of learning the wider your road will be for opportunity. If you’re a second generation farmer who finds interest in aquaculture, there is nothing wrong with having two types of professional skills. That’s why the program requires students to get some experience in each of the possible areas of development.” Arranging for students to take part in cross-domain learning is done with the hope that they will become open minded towards exploring other fields. Students need to explore a variety of opportunities throughout the semester, though course work, activities and internships to expand their fields of vision. A student from the second offering of the program, Tong-Xun Li, said that he “already has been working in agriculture for more than three years. Finances and resources are the greatest bottleneck for young farmers, but fortunately, by taking part in this program I have more comprehensive information which can help me seek resources more effectively, helping to resolve problems and uncertainties related to the industry and reducing pressure.”
NPUST Delegation Expands Internship Opportunities in Thailand and Malaysia
NPUST enjoys friendly relationships with the countries that fall under the umbrella of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy. The university is also working to build strong relationships with Taiwanese businesses and local industries operating in these countries and provide them with substantive technological assistance. Recently, NPUST President Chang-Hsien Tai led a delegation comprising OIA Dean Pomin Li, R&D Director Yo-Chia Chen, Personnel Director Lin Cheng-Hsiao and several other university representatives on a visit to Thailand and Malaysia to conduct a week-long industry-academia exchange during which a number of MOUs with educational institutions and businesses were signed. The first stop on the tour was the Thai Society of Agricultural Engineering (TSAE) to meet with Deputy CEO Dares Kittiyopas. The society, which has a wealth of members from the industrial sector, and NPUST have formulated a plan to create more diversified internship opportunities for students and pursue cross-domain education objectives. The delegation from NPUST later visited Siam Snail Co., LTD, which is a biotech company established by a professor from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University. The College of Biology professor spent 30 years researching methods to produce high-quality, mass produced snail mucus for application in skin care products and cosmeceuticals. Now, his company is being looked at as a model of incubated start-ups worth emulating. Another highly important item on the agenda was to visit the Thai – Taiwan Business Association and put ink to an agreement which will lead to increased internship opportunities for students at NPUST. These opportunities will no longer be limited by the pairing of departments of study with specific areas within industry; but rather will offer much more flexibility. NPUST’s president Chang Hsien Tai and the other delegates also paid a visit to King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) and met with the vice-chancellor and the dean of the Faculty of Agriculture to discuss future bilateral cooperation whereby students and faculty from both universities will be able to take part in exchanges and joint research projects. The next stop of the tour was in the neighboring country of Malaysia where President Tai and Dean Jik-Chang Leong were invited to take part in and speak at the 2018 Taiwan-Malaysia University Presidents Forum. The other members of the delegation made their way to Universiti Putra Malaysia to discuss issues related to the Overseas R&D Promotion Center which was established through the cooperation of the two universities and which will soon be providing farmers across Malaysia with services and technological assistance. Another very important item on the itinerary in Malaysia was the attendance of the unveiling ceremony for a new research base jointly established by NPUST and Baolai International SDN. The research facility will be used to train technical personnel with professional skills for the cultivation of arowana fish and the management of leisure farms. The base will also serve as a model facility which can be replicated in the future in other areas of Malaysia and overseas. The time in Malaysia ended with a press conference for the Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia. During the conference attention was given to the agriculture, forestry, fishing and livestock results exhibition that will be held in March of 2019 in Batu Pahat. In the afternoon, the delegates visited Tan Chong & Sons Motor company, which is an agent for the French car manufacturer, Renault, as well as for the Malaysian branch of Nissan Motors. The NPUST representatives met with the company’s executives for discussions, giving focus to cooperation related to agricultural machinery and agricultural development in the Penang area of northern Malaysia. The delegates also took advantage of their time in the area to visit the Treeletrik Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur and discuss cooperation and exchange with respect to R&D, marketing and personnel training for electric vehicles and scooters. The goal of the trip to Malaysia was to engage in substantial and concrete dialog with the business sector with the aim of extending NPUSTs plans for industry-academic exchange. Hopes are that the efforts made will not only lead to more comprehensive academic enterprises but to allow for students to gain experience and practical knowhow, so that when they graduate, they will be extremely competitive in the job market.