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UC Berkeley, MOE form educational partnership

The No. 1 public research university in the United States recently sealed an unprecedented cooperative partnership with 15 academic institutions in Taiwan to increase the international experience and exposure of talented local humanities and social sciences scholars through government-sponsored graduate studies.

The University of California, Berkeley became the first foreign member in the “Top University Strategic Alliance” formed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to foster exchanges between most reputed schools at home and abroad, after the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

In this pilot program, the MOE will fund three years of graduate studies leading to a graduate degree in the field of humanities and social sciences at UC Berkeley for graduates of 11 universities and scholars from four universities' research centers (see table).

The program provides exciting new prospects for researchers in Taiwan and at UC Berkeley. “I am very excited about the partnership. There already exist other partnerships, mostly in the fields of sciences. But this partnering in social sciences and humanities is new,” said Chancellor Robert Birgeneau of the UC Berkeley in an interview with The China Post.

Exchanges with local scholars afford the Berkeley population with opportunities to further understand this economically powerful and sometimes politically intense region in the world. Wen-Hsin Yeh, director of Cal's Institute of East Asian Studies expressed that East Asia is not just economically important but also culturally in this century.

“The program will enhance the exposure of UC Berkeley students and faculty to happenings and developments in East Asia and improve their inter-cultural competence to better prepare the next generation of decision makers,” the director added.

The partnership is another step in the university's commitment to research and advancement across a spectrum of studies. “Berkeley is one of the few universities that aims to be comprehensively excellent — across different fields — from engineering to economics to journalism,” the chancellor added.

Strident efforts toward academic excellence have paid off. Over the years, Berkeley has turned out many outstanding alumni including 60 Nobel laureates. According to the first detailed survey since 1995 of doctoral programs at U.S. universities, released on Sept. 28, UC Berkeley maintains the largest number of highly ranked graduate programs.

Beyond academic achievements, the school has been known for its ability to inspire creativity and impart socio-economic responsibleness to its population.

At the Berkley Taipei Forum that recently took place, renowned local playwright and director, and Berkeley alumnus Stan Lai (賴聲川) said that the time he spent in Berkeley while pursuing his doctoral degree between the late 1970s and early 1980s has greatly influenced him and his work. The inspirations that he had received during that time are forever imprinted on him.

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 UC Berkeley, MOE form educational partnership 
From left, Mary Catherine Birgeneau, wife of the chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley; Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of UC Berkeley; and Lian Chan, former vice president of the Republic of China and president of Lien Chan Foundation for Peace and Development, attend a recent Berkeley Taipei Forum in Taipei. (Akie Ang, The China Post)

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