Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) as well as U.S. Representative Ami Bera (CA-D) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) in reintroducing the Taiwan Fellowship Act. Modeled on the successful Mansfield Fellowship Program between the United States and Japan, this bill establishes a two-year fellowship exchange program for federal government employees in all three branches of government to learn, live, and work in Taiwan. Upon successful conclusion of the program, fellows will return to federal government service better positioned to advance U.S. values and interests in the Indo-Pacific region, with special emphasis in strengthening our strategic partnership with Taiwan.
Co-sponsors of the Senate bill include Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
“As Beijing continues to isolate Taiwan diplomatically, I’m proud to reintroduce this important bipartisan and bicameral effort,” Rubio said. “Modeled after the successful Mansfield Fellowship with Japan, the Taiwan Fellowship Act would create a fellowship program in Taiwan for the continued expansion of our bilateral and cultural ties with Taipei. This program would be a great step in advancing U.S. efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
“The Taiwan Fellowship Act builds upon the U.S. strategic partnership with Taiwan’s vibrant democracy in areas in which Taiwan has long held expertise – such as trade, human rights, the rule of law, regional security, and in global health,” Chairman Markey said. “Through intensive language, cultural, and political immersion at a Taiwanese ministry or civic institution, U.S. public servants will create lasting professional relationships and expertise that will far outlast each fellow’s time in Taiwan. While China seeks to isolate Taiwan from meaningful cooperation in tackling our global challenges, the swift passage of the Taiwan Fellowship Act would be a key step to signal that America is back, as committed as ever to our partnership with Taiwan, and reengaged in the Indo-Pacific region. I thank the Massachusetts-based Western Pacific Fellowship Project for their leadership in helping this idea come to life.”
“The United States and Taiwan share a close partnership that is rooted in our shared commitment to democracy and the rule of law,” Chairman Bera said. “This exchange program will give U.S. policymakers the opportunity to live and work in Taiwan, equipping them with better knowledge of the region’s history, culture, and political dynamics. Such experiences and people-to-people connections are crucial for developing tomorrow’s Taiwan experts in the federal government and informing U.S. foreign policy toward the Indo-Pacific. I am proud to work with Senators Markey, Rubio, and Representative Chabot on this bipartisan legislation that invests in a robust, enduring U.S.-Taiwan relationship.”
“As a longtime supporter of the United States-Taiwan bilateral relationship, I have always been a firm believer in the importance of face-to-face interaction between our respective governments,” Representative Chabot said. “That is why, I introduced, and in 2018, the President signed, the bipartisan Taiwan Travel Act, which fosters high-level dialogue. Such dialogue helps our two countries to see eye-to-eye, solve our differences, and meet shared challenges. The same holds true at the working level, and there is no better way to build relationships than having our personnel working side-by-side with their counterparts in Taiwanese ministries. The Taiwan Fellowship Act will set up a strong framework to make such collaboration possible and thereby deepen our bilateral relationship.”
Rubio is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.