Our New Global Innovation Hub in Taipei
The Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom (FNF) inaugurated its "Global Innovation Hub" on March 21, 2023 with a reception in Taipei. Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Germany’s Minister of Education and Research, was the guest of honour. Mrs. Stark-Watzinger, who also is a member FNF´s Board of Trustees, was in Taiwan in her capacity as a Minister to help create "awareness in Germany that Taiwan is a place of freedom, democracy and innovation whose existence is in danger.”
FNF´s office opening reception was held at the iconic Ximen Redhouse Theatre in downtown Taipei. Excitement was in the air as the crowds drew in. More than one hundred guests attended, including government officials, politicians of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), journalists, members of local NGOs and of German organizations in Taiwan as well as FNF scholarship holders.
Amongst our distinguished guests were Dr. Yun Fan (DPP Legislator), Dr. Minn-Tsong Lin (Deputy Minister of National Science and Technology Council), Kai Gehring (Member of the German Bundestag and Chair of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology) and Prof. Dr. Jhy-Wey Shieh (Taiwan’s Representative in Germany). FNF´s civil society partners in Taiwan were represented, among them the Open Culture Foundation and the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy.
“We are witnessing political polarization and a decline of trust in democratic institutions. The threat of authoritarianism loams large on the horizon. It is more important than ever to find new ways to strengthen and support our democracies”, said Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Paqué, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation, during his opening remarks. "Our Global Innovation Hub is a testament to our commitment. We will promote digital freedom, open-source software, open data and collaboration. This hub will serve to bring together experts from all around the world who have the potential to transform societies.”
Until 2020, FNF´s Global Innovation Hub was located in Hong Kong. However, when the "National Security Law" restricted liberties there, the decision was made to relocate to Taiwan. “Tonight, we celebrate a momentous occasion, coming together as champions of innovation, democracy, and freedom”, said Audrey Tang, Taiwan's Minister for Digital Affairs, who addressed the crowed digitally. “I would like to show my great gratitude to Dr. Karl-Heinz Paqué for choosing Taiwan as the strong ally of FNF to reinvent democracy in this digital era.
Minister Stark-Watzinger stressed her commitment to strengthening connections with Taiwan. “We are strengthening ties with those around the globe who share our values. Taiwan is an important value-partner for us. We share a desire for freedom, for democracy and for empowering its institutions and its citizens", Mrs. Stark-Watzinger said in her speech.
The reception included a panel discussion with Minister Stark-Watzinger, Prof. Dr. Paqué, Anna Marti (Head of FNF Taiwan), Haoting Chang (FNF IAF alumna and the founder and Design Director of Co-Lab Studio). Finally, Dr. René Klaff (Head FNF´s International Department) and Moritz Kleine-Brockhoff (Head of FNF Southeast and East Asia) joined the panellists on stage to symbolically press a button to officially open FNF´s "Global Innovation Hub" Taipei.
Our Taiwan team, consisting entirely of women, is a testament to FNF´s women's empowerment in Southeast and East Asia. Ya-wei Chou (Programme Manager) and Mia Hallmanns (Communications Officer) acted as the Masters of Ceremonies in English and in Mandarin at the Office Opening reception.
The Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom works in Germany and in more than 70 countries around the world. The new "Global Innovation Hub" in Taiwan focuses on digital transformation and innovation for democracy.
* Sky Chatuchinda is FNF´s Regional Communications Officer Southeast and East Asia
Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation opens new "Global Innovation Hub" in Taipei
On March 21st, 2023, in the presence of with Germany´s Research-Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom opened its new „Global Innovation Hub“ in Taipei, Taiwan. The "Global Innovation Hub" will coordinate the foundation´s activities related to innovation and digitalization around the world. The "Global Innovation Hub" used to be in Hong Kong until 2020, when it was decided to close the office there due to the "National Security Law".