Evan Furlong, Director of the Taiwan Centre for Mandarin Learning in Ireland (TCMLI) and Wendy Chen, vice chairperson of the Taiwan Emergency Assistance Association in Ireland (TEAAI), attended the 2022 Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) EU conference on behalf of the Taiwanese communities in Ireland. The three-day seminar in Paris was chaired by the Deputy Minister Chia Ching Hsu and a total of 27 community leaders from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Slovakia participated, including two OCAC consultants and 10 committee members among them.
Evan emphasized in one of the symposium's topics of "Pragmatic and Innovative Management of Community in Europe" that the work of overseas community leaders is to serve the Taiwanese community in response to Deputy Minister Hsu's statement that leaders of Taiwanese communities should uphold the spirit of "mutual forbearance". She also pointed out the importance of personality traits, echoing Huang Shyng Der, president of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce (WTCC), who said, "You can't possibly make everyone like you, but you can try not to annoy people." Not making enemies is a must learn life lesson for all leaders of Taiwanese communities. Evan then introduced four different leadership styles and encouraged the participating leaders to use The Art of War "know yourself, know your enemy, and you will never be defeated" to strengthen the communities and increase the solidarity of everyone's love for Taiwan.
At the symposium on the exchange of work experience in the local communities, Evan invited the participants to show their appreciation to the staff of the OCAC with a round of applause. The seminar deployed many resources and the manpower of the OCAC, including Deputy Director General Yen Shurong and Section Chief Wang Huaite, Liu Suqiu, director of the OCAC Team of the Taipei Representative Office in France, Secretary Lan Shirong and Secretary Hannah Cheng of the OCAC Education Office. Evan mentioned that she has served in the Taiwanese community in Ireland for more than ten years. In addition to feeling the warmth of the OCAC, she also witnessed the positive transformation of the same. She is convinced that the Taiwanese community leaders can communicate and learn from each other through seminars like this. She also mentioned that for the main challenges and possible solutions of managing work, especially the solution to the lack of funding, there is a Chinese proverb 四兩撥千斤which translates to "four ounces can move a thousand catties (a Chinese unit of weight similar to a pound)". By participating in activities with nationwide visibility such as taking part in national events such as the St Patrick’s Day Parade, the RTE Ray D'arcy Show, the Pride Parade, the Mother Tongues Festival and Dublin City Council’s Lunar New Year Festival and Cultural Night, the whole of Ireland can see Taiwanese culture.
In addition, many second-generation Taiwanese immigrants in Ireland are bilingual families, and a low level of Mandarin Chinese proficiency and Taiwanese identity are common challenges. It is hoped that the Taiwan Centres for Mandarin Learning around the world will expand and spread after taking root in various countries. Through emerging social media, we will recruit younger volunteers to connect with the second generation, so that the community work can be implemented in daily life.