Scranton Among Dozen Universities in World Awarded Competitive Cultural Grant


The University of Scranton joins just 12 elite colleges awarded a competitive international grant through Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture “Spotlight Taiwan Project,” which will invest $4 million during the next four years to collaborate with 40 major institutions around the world to deepen Taiwan’s interaction with the global community through culture.

The project in Scranton supported through a $50,000 grant for the first year, which is renewable up to 4 years, hopes to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of Taiwanese culture and society through diverse programs offered at multiple venues that also benefit the greater Scranton and northeastern Pennsylvania communities.

The grant will support programs that express this year’s theme “Tradition in Transition” and begin in October with two performances of “A Sea of Puppets” by Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company, along with a workshop on learning traditional Taiwanese puppetry skills and creating your own puppet, “The World is a Stage” lecture, and an exhibition of 20 to 30 classic puppets. A lecture “Dharma’s Democracy,” which is related to Taiwan’s religious renaissance and political development, will take place in November or December. Another lecture on Chinese yinyang cosmology and its impact on gender relations, is planned for early March. In May, in conjunction with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the University will host Taiwan Week, featuring an outdoor Asian-fusion concert performance entitled  “Eastern Legend” as well as a workshop by Chai Found Music Workshop, a film screening and a lecture with sampling of Taiwanese cuisine. 

Since 2011, the Taipei Cultural Center has collaborated with the University on numerous programs organized by Ann A. Pang-White, Ph.D., director of Asian Studies at The University of Scranton. Programming included free community performances and workshops of Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company and Chai Found Music Workshop, screenings and lectures of the Taiwanese Literature Film series, as well as Cheng Chou-Yu’s literature lectures.

Dr. Pang-White will execute Scranton’s “Spotlight Taiwan Project” under the guidance of Harold W. Baillie, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at the University, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the project on Aug. 2 with Ambassador Andrew J.C. Kao of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, N.Y.

In a news release announcing the University as a recipient of the grant, Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture stated “In the Chinese community around the world, Taiwan stands in a special place – full of critical thoughts, creative arts, and quotidian aesthetics; it represents a diverse, pluralistic, open-minded civil society.” According to the release, “the Ministry of Culture attempts to share Taiwanese culture in the perspectives of history, philosophy, mass culture, art, literature, and film through forums such as lectures, artist talks, seminars, workshops, performances, exhibitions, Taiwanese film festivals, and art festivals with an aim to affiliate with 40 major universities or cultural centers around the world, as windows for the local community to get a better understanding of Taiwan and the depth and the delicacy of Taiwanese culture, its diversity, and creative free thinking.”

Currently, the twelve universities/institutions that have confirmed their participation in the Spotlight Taiwan Project are: the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Berkeley; George Washington University; The University of Scranton; the University of Texas at Austin; the University of London; the University of Edinburgh; Heidelberg University; the University of Tübingen; Tokyo University of the Arts; Japan Yomiuri NTV Culture Center; and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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