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An Extraordinary Kind of Military Service:Passing-out Ceremony for the Taiwan Youth Overseas Service

Taipei, Taiwan—Servicemen from the tenth group of the Taiwan Youth Overseas Service were officially admitted into the service today during a passing-out ceremony at Tien-Mou International Convention Center. The ceremony was presided over by Dr. Lyushun Shen, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who spoke to gathered servicemen and presented them with the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The Taiwan Youth Overseas Service is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and managed by the TaiwanICDF. Operating since 2001, the service offers a talented array of young men the opportunity to gain a different perspective on the world, while also allowing MOFA to entrust a small part of Taiwan’s diplomatic efforts to the enthusiasm and vitality of its young citizens.

Having completed their six-week training course, the current intake of 92 servicemen will head overseas in early November to perform development work in lieu of military service. Working with TaiwanICDF technicians at 28 technical and medical missions in 24 countries, servicemen will be assigned to projects reflecting their particular specialties, which this year include agronomy, horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, public health and medicine, agribusiness management and ICT.

With each year bringing the best out of these Taiwanese servicemen, a growing number of young men have begun to recognize the value of working for the Taiwan Youth Overseas Service, and the expectations of each group of new recruits have risen accordingly. To prepare servicemen for their period of service, the TaiwanICDF arranges an intensive course of professional training, language programs and activities designed to promote life skills. Furthermore, experts and executive officers from MOFA and the TaiwanICDF present a series of lectures sharing practical advice and knowledge on diplomacy and international cooperation and development. These lectures complement the training received by servicemen and increase their awareness of Taiwan's history as a provider of foreign aid, and its mission and purpose overseas.

During the passing-out ceremony, Deputy Minister Shen presented a serviceman with the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan), representing a symbolic handover of responsibility from the government to each of the members of the service. On behalf of fellow servicemen, a second draftee then swore an oath, “to strive courageously, to study conscientiously, with devotion and commitment” while serving his country.

For servicemen, participation in the Taiwan Youth Overseas Services is more than simply a “journey.” By becoming immersed in another culture, these young Taiwanese men are able to expand their vision and life experiences, learning to overcome cross-cultural barriers and any lack of resources in their host country along the way. In the process of writing their own individual stories, this year’s recruits to the Taiwan Youth Overseas Service will continue to win friendship and recognition for Taiwan.

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  • Date:2010/10/28