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Taiwan's first and only female vice president visits JejuSeminar hosted by Business and Professional Women-Jeju welcomes Lu Hsiu-lien and 20 guests to workshop
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승인 2012.03.26  15:03:30
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▲ Seated, from left: Wang Hsiu-hong, Im Aeduk, Lu Hsui-lien Annette, Pak Hui-cha, Lee Yong-hee, and Jeju Council member Lee Sunhwa, joined by visiting members of BPW-Taiwan. Photo by Anne Hilty

Author's Note: On March 26, 2012, following the publication of this article, BPW-Taiwan president and former vice president of Taiwan government Lu Hsiu-lien Annette was given a Women for World Peace award in Seoul. The award is granted by Women's Federation for World Peace International.

Lu Hsiu-lien Annette, president of the Taiwan Federation of Business and Professional Women [BPW] and former vice president of the Taiwan government (2000-2008), recently visited Jeju Island in the company of 20 other BPW-Taiwan members and welcomed by BPW-Jeju.

On Saturday, March 24, BPW-Jeju, under the direction of President Im Aeduk, hosted a seminar and candlelight ceremony to honor the visitors from Taiwan. In addition to members of the two BPW organizations, the event was attended by Park Seung-Ryun, wife of Jeju Provincial Governor Woo Keun-min, who gave welcoming remarks and gifts to the Taiwan guests. Also in attendance were President Pak Hui-cha of BPW-Korea Federation, President Lee Yong-hee of BPW-Incheon, and other invited guests.

Lu is the first and to date only female vice president of Taiwan; she was elected by democratic process to an unprecedented two consecutive terms. Lu has been a leader for women's rights, gender equality, and women's empowerment in Taiwan for decades. Her first book, published in 1974, was entitled "The New Feminism;" while serving six years in prison during the 1980s for her political activism, she also wrote a novel, "These Three Women," which in 2008 was adapted into a screenplay and aired as a TV drama.

Awarded the World Peace Prize of the World Peace Corps Mission in 2001, the year following her first election to the vice governorship, Lu also survived an assassination attempt days before her re-election in 2004. She is an outspoken advocate not only for women's issues but also human rights, democracy, and the Taiwan independence movement. She hosted the 1994 Global Summit for Women in Taipei and the 2001 Global Peace Assembly, and founded her country's Democratic Pacific Union in 2003. Lu has been awarded 5 honorary doctoral degrees.

In the BPW seminar and candlelight ceremony, entitled "2012 BPW Korea Jeju International Workshop for BPW member empowerment through historic women leadership icon search," Lu spoke of Taiwan women's liberation and achievement. Three presentations on historic female role models were also provided; Shirley Chang (BPW-Taiwan) spoke on Dr. Hsu Shih-hsien, Professor Lee Miyoung (BPW-Incheon) talked about Kim Hwal-lan, and Jang Hye-ryen (Cultural Heritage Administration-Jeju) discussed Kim Mandeok.

The members of Taiwan BPW visited Jeju for several reasons: to promote sisterhood among BPW members in Asia, to encourage BPW-Korea members to attend the BPW Asia Regional Conference which Taiwan will host in December of this year, to further the sister relationship between BPW-Kaohsiung (Taiwan) and BPW-Jeju as established in April of 2011, and in anticipation of the 2014 BPW-International Congress which will be held on Jeju Island. The international president of BPW, Freda Miriklis, visited Jeju last September.

Additionally, BPW-Jeju and BPW-Incheon signed an MOU during the seminar, to formalize a relationship between the two clubs in anticipation of the 2014 Congress.

In personal conversation with this writer, Lu reiterated the significance of the relationship between the BPW organizations of Taiwan and Korea. In particular she highlighted the sisterhood between the Jeju and Kaohsiung clubs, the first and to date only such that Taiwan has established, and expressed her interest in formalizing a similar relationship at the Federation level. She extended her personal invitation to the Jeju members regarding the December conference in Taiwan, and President Im of Jeju confirmed that local members are planning to attend.

"I feel very happy to have today's event in Jeju and honored to have the Taiwan Federation president and members visit us," Im stated. "I think we can empower ourselves through this workshop [as a result of] having shared with each other about the women leaders in our local communities."

Dr. Wang Hsiu-hong, former deputy minister of health in Taiwan government and then-president of BPW-Kaohsiung, visited Jeju last year for the twinning ceremony between clubs and returned this time with Lu for her second visit to the island.

"I'm very impressed by the women in Korea, and in Jeju," Wang shared. "The BPW members are very visible in the society, and not only participate in political issues but also academic and many other fields to influence and advocate for women's rights and women's welfare."

Anne Hilty is a cultural health psychologist and a BPW-Jeju member.
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