Taiwan ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Leo Lee, pose with the scholarship recipients.
Taiwan ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Leo Lee, pose with the scholarship recipients.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent:- Six Vincentians on Tuesday afternoon received scholarship to read for undergraduate and master’s degrees at universities in Taiwan, as part of that country’s scholarship programme.

The students are Osric Browne, Shafana Williams, Kwesi Richards, Cathianna Prescott, Reanna Solomon, and Kent Gary Thomas.

Some 24 persons applied for the scholarships, which include one economy-class, direct-route roundtrip between Taiwan and St. Vincent and a monthly stipend of 30,000 New Taiwan Dollars (approximately US$882) for each recipient.

Scholarship recipients are expected to use the stipend to pay for all living and study expenses in Taiwan.

Only two of the students will study Mandarin, a departure from previous years, when all Vincentian students receiving Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs scholarships had to study the language for one year.

Leo Lee, Taiwan’s ambassador to Kingstown, told the students that the one-year-old Ma Ying-jeou administration in Taipei had instituted the change because of the increasing number of degrees offered in English and to reduce the challenges of learning Mandarin.

Ambassador Lee however noted that Mandarin Chinese was an increasingly important language.

He told the students that the scholarships were provided to citizens of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in an effort to increase their nation-building capacities and to foster cultural exchange, especially among the youth.

Ambassador Lee said that this year, the government of Taiwan would increase from four to seven the number of Taiwanese volunteers in this country.

Three of the first four Vincentians to receive Taiwan diplomatic scholarships in 2004 and a fourth student who received a Taiwan International Development and Cooperation (Taiwan ICDF) scholarship in 2007 graduated in June. (Read story here)

The Taiwan Scholarship Programme was established in 2004 to encourage outstanding international students to undertake degree programs in the Asian nation.

The programme provides study opportunities for a wide range of disciplines and aims to promote knowledge, understanding and friendship between people in Taiwan and countries around the world.

It also seeks to provide opportunities to increase academic and educational links with international institutions of higher learning, and develop outstanding professionals and experts to meet the needs of the global society, said a document circulated by the embassy here.

Since the programme was established, 24 Vincentians have been awarded scholarships to study in Taiwan.