The Asia-Pacific Liberal Women Association (APLW), which was founded by Amb. Maysing Yang, held its second general members meeting on November 20. At the meeting, the ceremony was held to present the first “Asia-Pacific Student Leaders Award.” In addition, Robert Hsing-cheng Tsao, former chairman of United Microelectronics Corporation, was invited to deliver a special guest lecture, titled “Land of the free, home of the brave.” Several candidates in the upcoming local elections addressed the meeting, including Taipei mayoral candidate Chen Shih-chung, incumbent Taipei city councilors Chien Shu-pei and Chen Hsien-wei, and city council candidates Chan Chin-chien and Wu Hsin-tai.
The APLW is the Asia-Pacific regional chapter of the International Network of Liberal Women (INLW). Headquartered in Taipei, the APLW is thus one of the few organizations with United Nations consultative status in Taiwan. Its members come from various nationalities and genders, and its founding goals are promotion of gender equality and enhancing women’s political participation. In addition, it advocates the principles of HeForShe, encouraging men to join the movement for equality and speak out for women. The APLW actively engages in and supports the Non-Governmental Organization Committee on the Status of Women (NGO CSW), working together with members of the women’s movement from around the world to promote gender equality and the status of women globally.
To promote the formation of talented young people, the APLW this year for the first time awarded the “Asia-Pacific Student Leaders Award” to nine outstanding students from different universities across Taiwan. Many of the awardees had been active since high school in various student organizations and publications, working on issues such as students’ rights and transitional justice on campuses; others had joined movements for human rights, gender equality, and the environment while at university. Many had already achieved substantial progress towards their various causes. For example, National Taiwan Normal University’s Michelle Hsu, herself just 18 this year, traveled the country to promote the constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18. National Taiwan University’s Tu Chun-Ching used management of a consumer cooperative to promote reforms. Shih Hsin University’s Yeh Po-ting created a student campaign in support of Hong Kong’s Anti-Extradition Movement. Tunghai University’s Tjuku Revuci and Chung Yang University’s Lîm Khiūn Chhin effectively used the media to document the Indigenous and Hakka cultures of their respective hometowns in Pingtung and Hsinchu.
The depth of understanding of the principles of freedom and equality and the dedication to putting them into practice of all of these outstanding youth is very moving. To encourage such excellent young people to continue their work to advance the vision of the APLW, each awardee received a scholarship of between NT$30,000-50,000.