During the last week of March, a second meeting of the Asia-Oceania regional hub was held at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, Taiwan
Participating in the visit were Marietta P. Guanzon, Jimi Caldea and Karol Jim Louis Castillo from the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) of De La Salle University, Philippines, a reference institution of the regional hub for Asia and Oceania as well as doctor Jen Azordegan, manager of community-engaged learning from the Australian Catholic University, institution supported by the program. Maria Rosa Tapia, coordinator of the Uniservitate Program, and Candelaria Ferrara, coordinator of regional hubs, participated from the Latin American Center for Solidarity Service-Learning (CLAYSS).
The activities began on Monday, March 27, with a Community Site Visit to the Han-Si Atayal Tribe, in Yilan. The participants had the opportunity to visit the Han-Si Elementary chool, talk to its principal Zhi-Qing,Tsai, get to know the facilities and learn about the service program that Fu Jen develops as after school tutoring. This was followed by a visit to the Atayal CultureCommunity Center where associate professor Paul Sheng-Yi,Tseng from the university has been working to meet the needs of the Han-Xi Atayal Tribe.
Tuesday, 28 March began with an introduction to Community Engagement at FJCU with a welcome and introduction from Fr. Leszek Niewdana (director of the Bachelor’s program in interdisciplinary studies). Presentations were shared about the Development of Social Service at Fu Jen by professor Hsiao-Ching Yang (the dean of the office of Research and development) about development in time and the action plan connected to the Catholic mission and the SDGs in the University; professor Connie Chun Chi Yang (dean of the office of international Education Department of Business Administration) about the existing and upcoming international program with partners worldwide; professor Ping-Keung Yip (dean of the college of medicine) about integral education in the field of medicine with an approach that interrelates art, medicine and religion including the formal, informal and hidden curriculum; and professor Pam Lin (CEO of the Creative Design Center from the department of Applied Art) about projects that contribute to rehabilitation from the Design perspective.
The day continued with a tour of the campus and its Holy Space guided by associate professor Chin-Ping Liou. This was followed by a series of talks in which delegation members presented and shared their experiences in an exploration of the role of service-learning in higher education. The activity began with an opening remark by the Vice President for Academics professor Ying-Chou Wang and it was followed by presentations. Candelaria Ferrara introduced the development of the first stage of the Uniservitate Programme, Maria Rosa Tapia presented concepts, experiences and challenges of Service-Learning in Higher Education, and Jimi Caldea, Karol Castillo and Jen Azordegan shared their Service-Learning implementation practices in DLSU and ACU. This was followed by a speech about the 4 virtues by the University Chaplain Rev. Raphael Ling. The day concluded with a visit to the SL Center and meeting with student ambassadors.
Wednesday, 29 March began with a space for reflections and interaction with the Vice President for Mission Father Inna Reddy Edara in which the issues regarding rankings, publications, faculty recognition and the identity and mission of Catholic Universities were the main topics discussed. Following this, there was a tour of the Department of Textiles and Clothing guided by associate professor Cheng-Ping Yu in which a project developed by the department was shared and the museum for Textiles and Clothing was visited.
In the afternoon, the attendees had the opportunity to learn about different projects developed at the university from the perspective of faculty and students. The activity began with an opening remark from the President Professor Dr. Han-Sun Chiang and a faculty sharing by associate professor Lydia Tseng who shared the importance in faculty capacity building, an itinerary of project development and the different experienced developed in the English Language department as well as the interconnectedness of teaching, learning and research; assistant professor Ying-Tzu Lin shared the connection between SL and Business with projects developed at primary schools and local shops; assistant professor Din-Yuang Huang shared experiences from the holistic education center developed in animal shelters; and associate professor Doris Li-Wen Chang shared the connections of SL to public speaking training as well as in the english department that include Design Thinking strategies for the itinerary of interdisciplinary projects development. Afterwards, there were presentations from the students. Ann Chen shared her overseas experience in Myanmar for which there was a deep research and study to create training podcasts for a primary school there; Kiki CHen shared her experience of tutoring overseas that included the SDGs perspective in which, due to lockdown, an online version of the project had to be developed which included the donation of computers with a specific software, video creation and online tutoring not only about the language but also about computer use; Anglee Liou also shared her overseas experience, also adapted during lockdown into a virtual tutoring experience; Zaira Huang shared her experience regarding toy testing for safety and its presentation in Maternity and Babies exhibitions, a joint work developed with a stray animals association and her overseas experience in a service program in Tanzania.
On Thursday morning, 30 March, a Cultural Tour was held in the Dadaocheng and Dihua area followed by the Visit to the Tunglee Academy to meet doctor Su-Lee Tsai.
The week of activities finished on March 31 with a hub meeting in which there was a dialogue about future steps. The main topics discussed were student involvement in community projects, the importance of having a SL center within the university structure, capacity building and faculty recognition as well as community engaged research opportunities.
Throughout the week, and following the previous visit to ACU in Australia, the delegation once again experienced valuable global exchange and international collaboration to celebrate cultural diversity in a fraternal encounter.