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AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk Visits Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che For The First Time, Looks Forward To More US-Taiwan Collaborations

AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk, AIT Kaohsiung Branch Chief Mason Yu and Deputy Branch Chief Jack Lambert, and other AIT officials visited Tainan City Government today (Feb. 17). This is Director Oudkirk’s first visit to Tainan since assuming office. Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che and Deputy Mayor Tai Chein welcomed the guests along with the heads of the Tainan City Government Economic Development Bureau, Bureau of Transportation, Department of Information and International Relations, and Research, Development and Evaluation Commission. The two parties discussed issues related to technology and agriculture.

 

Mayor Huang Wei-che pointed out that Tainan has fourteen signatory cities in the United States and continues to maintain pleasant and active interactions with them. During the pandemic, the cities also supported each other and shared epidemic prevention experiences. Huang emphasized that the US and Taiwan have a strong relationship, which has been further demonstrated during this pandemic. So in honor of today’s occasion, he wore a “Thank you US” face mask to show his appreciation for the United States’ vaccine donation to Taiwan.

 

Both parties agree that Tainan has transformed from a cultural capital into an innovative smart city. Huang Wei-che remarked that with the progressive developments of various technology clusters, such as the Southern Taiwan Science Park, Tainan has become an important hub for semiconductors. Currently there are a lot of American engineers undergoing training in Tainan. Furthermore, the city is committed to developing green energy and reclaimed water technologies to secure energy supply sources for the industries.

 

The Mayor mentioned that the Irwin mango, one of Tainan's specialty crops, is a result of the friendly partnerships between Taiwan and the US, and added that this species of mango is a Florida native, just like Director Oudkirk. The Mayor hoped that future US-Taiwan interactions will also be fruitful as the yearly Irwin mango harvest in Tainan.

 

Huang Wei-che also took this opportunity to introduce Tainan’s agriculture products to the guests. He explained that Tainan has abundant produce and the dried fruit snacks made with local fruits are very popular among foreign visitors.

 

Director Sandra Oudkirk arrived in Taiwan in July 2021. This is not her first time stationed in Taiwan: after joining the US Department of State, her first job overseas was at the Taipei office of AIT. She visited Tainan in 1993 and has a very good impression of the ancient capital. Director Oudkirk has years of diplomatic experience. In addition to Taiwan, she has also worked at US embassies in Turkey, China, and other countries.