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Press Release

Acting Director Pamela J. Slutz Remarks for Nan Hai Road Closing Ceremony Friday, 4:00 P.M., March 1, 2002 AIT American Cultural Center

Vice Minister Fan, Chairman Wang, long-time friends of the American Cultural Center. I am very pleased you took time out of your busy schedules to stop by to join us for a drink or two and a chance to reminisce about the AIT Cultural Center here at Nan Hai Road. Except for a brief period in the early 1990s, AIT’s Cultural Center has been located here for many, many years—so many, in fact that no two people seem to able to agree on just when we began our operations here!

People will, however, remember the many significant events that took place in this building, many in this very room, over the years. Lovers of Taiwan art, for example, will never forget self-taught artist Hung Tong’s groundbreaking exhibit in 1976, nor the retrospective of his works after his death in 1987. Also memorable were lectures by the now world renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theater Founder and Director, Lin Hwai-min, given here at the Cultural Center after visiting the United States as an AIT-sponsored cultural exchange participant. Finally, those attending a reception two years ago during which famous trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra gave an impromptu performance will no doubt remember just how good jazz can sound.

As wonderful as these memories are, though, times change. AIT is no exception, and our cultural work must keep up with these changes. You may have noticed in your invitation that we gave a name to this reception: “Looking Back and Moving Forward”. While the memories we’re discussing here today are important reminders of our enduring friendship, the prospect of further developing our cultural ties in new ways is equally intriguing. Whether it’s our assistance with the visit of Ministry of Education Vice Minister Wu Tieh-hsiung and twelve other Ministry officials to study distance learning at various universities in the U.S., or the continual development of electronically distributed information about U.S. culture, society and foreign policy, we are always looking for ways to strengthen our cultural ties. Although the nature of our work may be changing with the times, we will, I promise, remain engaged, and will continue to work hard with you to strengthen the already strong ties between your democracy and ours. In fact, our decision to relocate to a new, more modern facility demonstrates the depth of our commitment to expand the cultural ties that bind the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan.

And now, I invite you to raise your glass to toast “U.S. Taiwan Cultural Relations”!