July 20, 2006

SIUC to host Taiwanese students for two weeks

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students from Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale beginning next week to gain insight into daily American leadership skills from area business and community leaders.

The two-week leadership workshop will cover a variety of topics and features numerous presenters, including SIU President Glenn Poshard, SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler and Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole.

The students begin their two-week visit to SIUC and the region on Sunday, July 23.

In addition to learning from business executive and community leaders, students also have the opportunity to exercise their English language skills, said Max Yen, director of SIUC’s Materials Technology Center.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the workshops during the two-week visits. Students will be available for interviews. For more information or to make arrangements, contact Max Yen at 618/453-7822.


"Through that, I believe they can learn leaderships skills, the current issues, and how Americans make decisions in comparison to how they make decisions," Yen said. "It will be a cultural exchange for them to understand that if, in the future, they are in a position to make decisions and when they need to deal with people all over the world, you have to learn to think from other people’s perspectives."

This is the third year for the leadership workshop with SIUC’s sister university, and it offers NCKU students topics on business, becoming an entrepreneur, education and politics. Students will visit several area industries, including Pepsi MidAmerica, Aisin Manufacturing, Ensign-Bickford, and Technicolor Universal Media Services.

Yen is "very thankful" for the workshop panelists who are donating their time.

SIUC and NCKU established a relationship as sister universities for education initiatives, research projects and other collaborations in 1987, Yen said. The two universities work together on various initiatives, including clean coal research.

The country’s Ministry of Education promotes globalization, and the leadership workshop is used as a model for other universities in Taiwan to follow, Yen said. NCKU chooses students based on their academic performance, he said. After spending two weeks at SIUC students will spend a week on the West Coast before returning home.

"The most important issue is from academia, especially from universities, to have their students to understand and appreciate the activities and cultures beyond just the island of Taiwan," he said. "Using that as an initiative, every university was encouraged to develop relationships or initiate some kind of program so that their students can experience international activity either inland or abroad."

Other workshop topics include looking at current and future energy sources, the press, media and public policy, and implementation of equal rights and equal opportunities.

During the visit the students – who already speak English – will participate in six advanced communication classes by SIUC’s Center for English as a Second Language. Students will discuss current issues and reading assignments they receive, giving them further opportunities to speak English.

"This is the most important issue in students coming from overseas – especially in Asia – they never have a chance to speak," Yen said. "It doesn’t mean that they don’t know English; it just means that they never had a chance to speak so it doesn’t come automatically."

The visit also provides a recruiting mechanism for students who may want to return to the United States and continue their studies, Yen said.

Creating citizen-leaders with global perspectives and expanding international outreach opportunities are among the goals ofSouthern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.