More than two decades have passed since the establishment of the North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association (NATPA) in 1980. Under the leadership of many dedicated presidents and working committees/task forces as well as general support from members, we have contributed substantially to the well-being of Taiwanese communities in North America and Taiwan. We have strived to strengthen the ties between North America and Taiwan.
Our main mission is clear: 1) To sponsor scholarly research and education on subjects related to Taiwan, 2) to promote educational and culture exchanges among people in Taiwan, North America, and other countries, and 3) to further the welfare of Taiwanese communities in North America. We have done an admirable job in carrying out our mission with very limited resources. We are proud of our independence.
We are facing daunting challenges, however, in carrying out our mission.
Demographics: NATPA is graying and we need to nurture newer generations of members to carry on the torch.
Resources: Although we have accumulated a small amount of funds, our funding resources are very limited. From time to time, we will ask for donations from our members as well as other sources.
Visibility: Reflecting what is happening in Taiwan, the Taiwanese American community is becoming more diversified. We face the challenge of adhering to our ideal and mission and at the same time attempting to reach out to the community in North America as well as in Taiwan.
Of course, we possess strengths that will allow us to continue to serve the community. Our major strengths are: 1) extremely talented and experienced group of scholars and researchers, 2) Experience in organizing conferences and symposiums, and 3) devotion to the mission of providing independent and scholarly activities relating to Taiwan and North America.
How do we leverage our strengths in the face of limited resources to carry out our mission?
Board Meeting: The 2003 Board Meeting was held in Orange County during October 11-12, 2003. Six members of the new Board, together with committee chairs, local chapter presidents, and some former presidents participated. A total of 22 hard working people devoted their energy to a two-day intensive meeting. On the evening of October 11, we had a banquet dinner with members of the local Southern California chapter. A total of 35 members and their partners joined the dinner party. The meeting accomplished the following: 1) transfer of the management of NATPA affairs from the outgoing team to the new team, 2) discussion of various issues, and 3) mapping out activities for the year 2003-2004.
Annual Meeting: Our big event, of course, is the annual meeting. In the Board Meeting last October, we have tentatively decided to hold the annual meeting in Southern California (Orange County), although we did not totally rule out holding the meeting in Taiwan. We have set the dates for the annual meeting as the first weekend of August (July31/August1) followed by a three-day (or four-day) trip. Please mark your calendar!
Symposiums and Conferences: Possible topics were identified in the October 2003 Board meeting: Statehood, Economics, Education Reform, and Biomedicine. We have successfully completed the one-day Economic Symposium in Irvine, Orange County, in Southern California on February 21, 2004, co-sponsored by NATPA SCAL chapter. Because of logistic problems, we did not implement the statehood symposium in Taiwan as planned. The statehood conference is on hold. The biomedicine conference is on the planning stage.
Public Policy: The public policy committee has been active on the issue of statehood. It published a statehood statement in September/October of 2003 on behalf of NATPA.
Co-Sponsoring Activities: We have co-sponsored activities with other organizations, e.g., Letter to Bush campaign. We will join other North American Taiwanese groups to deliver the letters and hold a press conference in Washington D.C. on March 3, 2004. Local chapters such as Southern California and DC Baltimore have co-sponsored various activities with local Taiwanese community organizations. We have initiated a link with the Taiwanese Professors’ Association in Taiwan.
Local Chapters: We are encouraging local chapters to co-sponsor activities with the NATPA head office. By pooling resources, we can do more.
Membership: There is no question that we need the infusion of new blood. We have begun a very successful Internship Program for 2002-2003 and we plan to continue or expand the activities. Please help us in recruiting new members.
Research: We will continue to sponsor research projects. One of the projects that received the funding has been completed.
Inquiry Publication: We plan to publish the first issue of Taiwan Inquiry this year. We need your papers!
Newsletter: The Newsletter Committee is hard at work to get the March issue out. We are short on local chapter news.
IT Restructuring: We are in the process of restructuring our information systems. We plan to expand our Web capability and improve the contents. The restructuring is on the drawing board.
Finance: Our finance is healthy due to many years of prudent management. Our planned activities require substantial infusion of funds. We have been fortunate to have CY Fund and other donations. We will be collecting the membership dues for this year soon and will also start a donation campaign. Please be generous in supporting NATPA activities.
Enjoy your springtime and please join us for our annual meeting in Southern California during July 31-August 1 and the trip that follows.