2018年由文學院前任院長陳弱水教授委派，籌辦「頂尖大學策略聯盟－哈佛大學雙邊學術合作交流計畫」，邀請那時是哈佛大學亞洲中心主任暨比較文學與東亞語言文明系主任的Karen Thornber教授來台舉行一系列演講。Thornber教授便是ICLP的傑出校友。2019年麻省理工學院(MIT)的全球語文中心主任(Director of Global Languages)的鄧津華(Emma Jinhua Teng)教授應中文系邀約來台大文學院演講，鄧教授的中文也是在ICLP打的基礎。這兩位是我在副院長的職位上實際接觸過的校友。讓我見識到ICLP在國際漢學界與華語界舉足輕重的地位。
2019年九月奉派參加台灣師範大學主辦的新南向交流計畫，赴印尼訪問。在雅加達印尼大學人文學院遇見一位印尼裔教授Nurni W. Wuryandari（武妍麗），專長是中國現代文學，會後她與我親切的談到，曾在台大ICLP就讀兩年，最懷念的就是陳立元老師的諄諄教誨。這也是我再一次親身見證ICLP作育天下英才的優良傳統。
It could be said that my connection with ICLP began during the 1980s while I was studying at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). At the time, I engaged in language exchange with students from the UK who were studying at the NTNU Mandarin Language Center, and I heard about the legendary Stanford Center at National Taiwan University (NTU). In 1996 after finishing my degree in the UK, I joined the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at NTU, where I came to hear about the myriad challenges faced during the transitional period of ICLP.
In 2018, Professor Chen Jo-shui, former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at NTU, appointed me to organize the “Strategic University Alliances - Harvard University Collaboration and Exchange Program”, through which Professor Karen Thornber, Director of Harvard’s Asia Center and Department Chair for Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Cultures, was invited to Taiwan to give a series of lectures. In 2019, Professor Emma Jinhua Teng, Director of MIT’s Global Languages Center, also accepted an invitation to speak at the College of Liberal Arts. Both professors are distinguished alumni of ICLP, where they established a foundation in Chinese. During my first term as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, I had the incredible fortune of meeting them both and being able to first-hand observe the influential position that ICLP holds within international Sinology circles and the world of Chinese languages.
In 2019, as part of preparations for the Taiwan Flagship Center, former Director of ICLP Professor Kao Wei-hong, Teacher Chen Li-yuan, and myself all represented the College of Liberal Arts as attendants at the Language Flagship Annual Meeting held by the University of Georgia. This trip allowed me to understand the importance placed on this program by the U.S. Flagship Program’s head office and the Department of Defense, the critical position ICLP has long held within international Chinese Language Circles, and the enormous challenges being faced in the present.
In September 2019, as part of the delegation under the New Southbound Exchange Program organized by NTNU, I paid a visit to the Faculty of Humanities at Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta. There I met Professor Nurni W. Wuryandari, who is an Indonesian specialist in Modern Chinese Literature. We cordially discussed the two years she had spent studying at ICLP, of which her fondest memories include the passion and earnestness with which Teacher Chen Li-yuan delivered her lectures. This is just one more example where I was able to personally witness the outstanding traditions that ICLP has of cultivating the best and brightest talents from around the world.
Beginning in September 2019, I represented the College of Liberal Arts at ICLP’s administrative meetings. For two full years, I personally experienced the strong cohesion and professional spirit within the Institution. When the Covid-19 epidemic exploded at the beginning of 2020, like resetting a computer after a crash, all of the established training methodologies had to be newly evaluated and adjusted in response. The teachers and administrative staff, never wavering in their commitment, came together to overcome adversity. The deepest impression I hold is of one particular meeting, when Director Kao commended the efforts made by ICLP colleagues in response to domestic shortages of epidemic prevention materials. They had gotten their own families to help by going around and buying up face masks, at times even needing to use the real-name registration system and line up to buy facemasks, all so that ICLP’s international students wouldn’t suffer from a lack of protection. Through this small gesture, I could feel the solidarity and wholehearted kindness of my colleagues, who by hook or by crook, endeavored to safeguard the interests of teachers, staff and students.
In the summer term of 2020, online and in-person classes started to be run concurrently. Originally, we were concerned that an online class would be incompatible with our emphasis on an immersive instruction style and that the efficacy of studying would deteriorate. Nevertheless, enrollment for the fall term of 2021 has already seen a great increase compared with the same period last year, and students from around the world continue to commend the teaching staff at ICLP. Thus, it is clear that even within different teaching environments, the instructors are still more than capable of guiding students in their language learning pursuits. Perhaps because my views have been shaped by the College of Liberal Arts, I think it amazing how ICLP has been able to continuously revise, adapt, and develop a unique operational model as an independent entity under the aegis of the NTU system.
Currently, using the term “one big family” to describe a group is not popular because of implications that ethical considerations be based on age and seniority; however, I want to emphasize that the vitality of a team must be maintained, so that they may deftly adapt to the constantly changing circumstances brought about by unpredictable geopolitical events and the domestic and international Covid-19 situations. Fortunately, I have joined a team brimming with energy that carries on the exemplary traditions of past directors and colleagues. Furthermore, we have experienced the severe surges and abatements of the international Covid-19 epidemic and for the most part have safely passed through the crucial reset period. In 2017, I delivered congratulatory remarks on behalf of the College of Liberal Arts at a ceremony commemorating ICLP’s 55th anniversary. In 2022, we will reach the 60-year milestone remaining steadfast in our determination and fully expecting to maintain our capabilities to keep abreast with the ever-evolving circumstances of our times.
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