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2008-05-15 | AIT Launches Virtual Branch Office in Taichung

AIT Launches Virtual Branch Office in Taichung

PR0830E | Date: 2008-05-15

The American Institute in Taiwan established its first Virtual Branch Office (VBO) in Taichung on Thursday, May 15, 2008 as a way of extending the vital interaction between Americans and the people of central Taiwan.

In the opening ceremony in Taichung, AIT Director Stephen M. Young and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu jointly launched the VBO at, a new and dynamic website dedicated to providing information and resources on U.S. culture, values, travel and various AIT programs tailored for residents of the Taichung area.

"Through the Virtual Branch Office, we hope to both expand our activities in central Taiwan and help raise the profile of Taichung in the United States," AIT Director Stephen M. Young said at the ceremony.

AIT Economic Officer Matthew O'Connor serves as the first Taichung VBO Officer.

The launch of the VBO coincides with the third anniversary of the Taichung American Corner, a partnership between the AIT and the Taichung National Library. Inaugurated in May 2005, the American Corner has become Taichung's one-stop information center on the United States. It has held more than 220 programs with nearly 10,000 attendees over the past three years.

The United States and Taichung share a long and close history. In 1955, the Chinese Language and Area Studies School was established in Taichung as a program of the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, and a generation of U.S. Foreign Service Officers studied and lived in Taichung. Today, over 3,000 Americans live in and around Taichung, and thousands of travelers from the United States visit the Taichung area every year. The American Chamber of Commerce in Taichung has been active in the business community in central Taiwan.

As further evidence of the long friendship between AIT and Taichung, AIT and Taichung Cultural Affairs Bureau co-sponsored "Moving Spirit," a Taichung-only modern dance performance by New York's Battery Dance Company, with a special performance by student dancers from Szu Chen Junior High School in Taichung County. In October 2007, the "Sacred Legacy" American Indian photo exhibit sponsored by AIT opened at Taichung's National Museum of Natural Science for a one-month showing.

For more information about the Taichung VBO and the Taichung American Corner, please visit and