NTU students recently succeeded in hosting the first "Global Initiatives Symposium" in Taiwan (GIS Taiwan), this was the first instance in which an international academic activity was solely initiated, planned, and implemented by students. In the future, the NTU work team shall strive toward organizing a symposium whose scale and quality are comparable to those of the St. Gallen Symposium of Switzerland. On July 7th, 2009, 63 international youth from 16 different countries congregated at NTU, and conducted a four-day panel discussions and simulated conferences on the status quo of global economy. For this event, NTU invited the world famous environmental hero Dr. Michael Braungart as the keynote speaker. Dr. Braungart praised the GIS Taiwan profusely. He pointed out that "The GIS not only realized the essence of education, but also provided usable solutions for the future of mankind." In brief, the young people of the world should carry out the plans that may change our society, and this is in keeping with the core value and beliefs of the GIS.
The theme of this year's GIS was "Challenges and Opportunities, the Global Economy in the Transition Phase." And the three sub-topics were: "Rethinking of Corporate Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship," "Bliss or Misery? Contemplating the Engagement at Cultural Forums and Economic Progress," "Find the Next Wave to Ride on New Business Strategies in the Changing World."
The international students who participated in the Symposium all submitted their essays during the screening process, and received partial sponsorship for their airfare and room and board. For this year's GIS 250 international students submitted their entries, and the organizing committee selected 80 students from 21 countries, including students from the U.S., Russia, Thailand, the Czech Republic, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, etc, and subsidized their trip to Taiwan. From these 80 students, NTU chose the best essay writer, and offered him U.S. $900 dollars in cash prize.
The GIS provides a academic dialogue platform based on Taiwan for International youth who are concerned about the global trends. It effectively integrates opinions from different cultural, political and societal backgrounds, while establishing a contact network for outstanding youth from all over the world, strengthening the image of Taiwan step by step. Participants from different countries contemplate international issues during the symposium, and rack their brains to think of effective solutions. In the process of the various activities, students have a chance to get in touch with diversified viewpoints, understand other people's mode of thinking, and learn to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. All these conduce to broadening the international perspectives of the Taiwanese students.
At present similar symposiums in other countries focus on the cognition and discussion of global issues. After the symposiums are over, the participants merely issue a manifesto, which usually are nothing more than a slogan. GIS Taiwan is different in that it not only requires the participants to debate and discuss the global issues, but also requires them to come up with practical solutions. We provide herewith the gist of the viewpoints brought forth by three winners of the best essays. Mr. Rishi Chakravarti of India said: "Enterprises' social responsibility is inseparable from its sustained development. An enterprise's current development does not only impact the present generation. More importantly, it impacts our next generation." Mr. Peter Cheng from the United States, on the other hand, maintained that new business strategies should contain the following factors: "1. Long term plans for sustainable development. 2. Interdepartmental cooperation. 3. Pluralistic and diversified development. 4. Sustained continual internal investment." He also emphasized that enterprises which intend to survive in our changing world must possess the ability to "come up with long term and reasonable projects to cope with the market's uncertainty." Finally, Mr. Luca V. Bagiella from Switzerland led all participants to rethink what democracy meant for all mankind. The three winners of the best essays expounded their viewpoints with profound background knowledge and provided practical solutions, and are to be commended for their creative imagination and their power of execution. Professor Chang-Chuang Chan of the Department of Public Health served as one of the judges of the essays. He was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the essays under his review. He thought that the essays displayed the students' concern for the world, integrated local thinking with international perspectives, and provided effective solutions.
In recent years the Government of Taiwan has been vigorously promoting international youth exchange activities in the hope that through the increased participation of Taiwan youth in international activities a tidal wave of international youth exchange can be launched. The GIS planned and organized by NTU's Office of Student Affairs is not only a starting point for the Taiwanese students to have a dialogue with the world, but also a driving force for building the brand of Taiwan, and for initiating Taiwan youth into the international community. In essence, the GIS is a milestone in NTU's effort toward globalization.