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NCNU holds forums, student competition on regional empowerment

A series of forums and proposals aimed at brainstorming for more localized and creative ideas on regional empowerment took place at National Chi Nan University on May 13. Organized by LESSON+ (Learning and Enhancement Center for Small-business Startup of NCNU) and CTCA Taiwan (Creative Tourism and Community Design Association in Taiwan), the program was attended by delegates representing the tourism, grassroots revitalization, and agricultural cooperative interests of the central Taiwanese regions of Nantou, Taichung, Changhua, and Yunlin.

NCNU President Dr. Yuhlong Oliver Su explained that while universities and tertiary schools across the nation have been fully devoted to university social responsibility (USR) practices in recent years, NCNU has been taking it one step further by utilizing its administrative and academic resources to identify the industrial and business potential of its Nantou hometown and nurture the required talents and personnel accordingly.

Tseng Hsi-peng (曾喜鵬), director of LESSON+, explained that the university has adopted this approach of combining USR with regional revitalization for two years, and in doing so, have supplied local youth entrepreneurs with feasible business plans, market development strategies, and operational skills. The transfer of knowledge is augmented by forums, workshops, competitions, and networking events in the hope of nurturing students who are fully equipped with a localized set of expertise in regional revitalization.

As part of the Nantou forum, Wei Chao-ting (魏兆廷), deputy chair of CTCA Taiwan, introduced the Executive Yuan’s Regional Revitalization Policy. The national-level security policy’s vision is to ensure that the total population remains over 20 million by the 2050s, gradually encourage intra-island migration, and reduce pressure on the capital and metropolitan areas to achieve a balanced development in Taiwan.

The forum was followed by a special competition for youth entrepreneurs, with National Yunlin University of Science and Technology cinching first place for its interactive parent-child educational program “Dear You.” The second and third spot were respectively won by student teams from NCNU and National Taichung University of Science and Technology.

NCNU’s “Rural City” team that placed second provided bentos, as boxed lunches are known in Taiwan, consisting of marinated eggs steeped in Assam tea, pork loins cooked with the peppery herb maqaw (馬告), fried chicken accented with Shaoxing wine, a mushroom-pumpkin-chestnut medley, and grilled water bamboo served with a prickly ash (刺蔥) sauce.

Tying in to the region’s reputation as an agricultural powerhouse, the bento successfully promoted Nantou’s specialty products in a bid to generate more tangible benefits for central Taiwan’s hardworking farmers.

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