In an effort to strengthen ties between Taiwan and Japan, the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) of Tokyo, Japan visited the Tang Prize Foundation in Taiwan on May 14. Institute Vice President Yokomichi Kiyotaka was accompanied by Department Vice Director Otsuji Yoshihiro and Associate Professor Minchung Hsu on the visit, where they met with the director of the foundation’s Department of Planning and Development, Hu Yin Yin, who showed the group around the foundation offices and discussed the work the foundation has been involved in in the interstitials between prize years. Discussion also came around to the advantages of the foundation as a platform for academic exchange, one that can be used to deepen relations between Taiwan and Japan.
Vice President Yokomichi said that GRIPS has recently identified Biological Chemistry as one of its focuses of development, and that he hopes to bolster academic exchange between the Tang Prize Foundation and GRIPS in this field. Yokomichi was also surprised by the ability of the foundation to arrange and hold an awards ceremony, a concert, and a full week of international events just two short years after its founding in 2012. It is something that Japan should take note of and emulate, Yokomichi said.
Yokomichi was already quite familiar with one of the laureates in Biopharmaceutical Science, Prof. Tasuku Honjo, who has garnered much respect in Japan for his groundbreaking work in immunotherapy. It also so happened that Prof. Honjo is good friends with the president of GRIPS, Shiraishi Takashi. With fortuitous ties between the two organizations already in the works, Yokomichi said he looks forward to having an even closer relationship with the foundation in the future.
Director Hu also told GRIPS about the Tang Prize Foundation’s recent participation in academic conferences such as Experimental Biology 2015 in Boston and the Association for Asian Studies 2015 meeting in Chicago. The purpose of these visits was to bolster the foundations connections with international academic organizations, promote Taiwan as a “soft power” economy, and to help the government increase exchange across the academic-industry line. Director Hu added that the international atmosphere and enrollment at GRIPS is exactly the direction that the Tang Prize Foundation is moving towards.
GRIPS, Japan’s most international academic institution, offers masters and PhD programs in policy studies. Of the school’s 400 students, nearly 300 come from a total of 60 countries. GRIPS graduates often go on to work in governmental institutions or central banks, and over the past 30 years, many GRIPS graduates have gone on to hold top positions in government offices all over the world. With its newly-founded upper-level public-servant training center, the school looks to become a center for research and development in the Asia Pacific region.