419. Retirement from FAPA / Gerrit van der Wees / 03/2016

Retirement from FAPA

By Gerrit van der Wees

Dear members of FAPA-Board and Forum,

Hereby I would like to inform you all that I have decided to retire from FAPA as of March 1st, 2016.  I informed Peter Chen and my colleagues here at HQ on January 29, 2016. This decision did not come easily. I have been working for Taiwan and its democracy for many decades nearly day and night. Taiwan has been my passion and my life.

My original plan was to gradually phase out of FAPA in about two years.  What made me change my mind was Tsai Ying-wen’s overwhelming victory in the presidency and in the Legislative Yuan where DPP has won a super majority of the seats. We were at the DPP headquarters on election night. When we saw the results come in, I felt like a marathon runner who finally crosses the finish line. My life-long mission to see Taiwan become a true democracy has been achieved. And in the past week my wife Mei-chin and I decided that it is time for me to retire and pass the torch to a younger generation.

I have now worked on Taiwan issues for a total of 35 years:the first 25 years working in evenings and weekends publishing our Taiwan Communique, while holding my aerospace policy job with the Dutch government. We started the Communique back in 1980-the year after the Kaohsiung Incident -in order to focus international attention on the lack of human rights and democracy in Taiwan. We have published a total of 154 issues since then.  The full list of back issues can be found on http://www.taiwandc.org/twcom/

Then in 2005 I was able to take early retirement from the Dutch government, and started working on Taiwan issues here in Washington full-time.  The year 2015 thus marks the 10th year that I have worked for FAPA.  My wife Mei-chin and I both turned 70 years old in 2015, and we have thought long hard about our future, and decided that it is time for us to step down and have the younger generation take over.

Last but not least, I want to express my deep appreciation to each and everyone in the Taiwanese-American community for their support and encouragement for our work for Taiwan Communique for so many decades. It has been a privilege and honor to be part of the movement for a democratic Taiwan, and to have met and befriended so many dedicated people in the course of our lives. Even though I will be retiring from FAPA, I hope that I can still contribute to Taiwan in many other ways.


Source from by Gerrit van der Wees / 01/2016

Posted in 03/2016