Dr Ketty Chen – Making a difference in Taiwan
Dr Ketty Chen, Senior Deputy Director, Department of International Affairs, of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan. Dr Chen has recently entered her position in the political sphere for the DPP and it is currently her third year living and working in Taiwan.
Dr Ketty Chen was born Taipei. She is from a Taiwanese background raised in a mixture between Taiwanese and American culture. She had learnt both English and Taiwanese in parallel during her childhood, as well as speaking Mandarin within her family home. She appreciates her parents teaching her from an early age as she moved to the United States of America. She had learnt in an English speaking environment but required to speak Mandarin and Taiwanese at home to her family, even though her parents were also multilingual. She understands the values of speaking a language where the “Ability to speak language, lets you understand to reach out to people more, what influences you more is the environment you live in”. Using language as a platform to communicate to a broader range of people, where adapting to its lifestyle lets you understand what it is to be one of them. Through this level of communication, heightens the ability of connection to others as being both American and Taiwanese.
As an American Taiwanese, transitioning back into the Taiwanese lifestyle she mentions the adjustment in her Western influences of speaking and the advantages of living in Taiwan. She enjoys the Taiwanese lifestyle as no matter what time or place it is always convenient to find food. However she continues in her endeavour to adapt to the local culture, ways to communicate and associate with the locals.
Dr Chen taught political science at Collin College and was visiting assistant professor at Austin College prior to her move to Taiwan. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, while working with former United States Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Edward J. Perkins. She first met Dr Tsai Ing-wen, President-elect of Taiwan and Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party in a workshops at Dr Tsai’s “Thinking Taiwan Foundation” for new scholars and young academics on the New Framework of Taiwan’s Economy Development.
Dr Chen’s motivation and inspiration to serve on her current post, is from President-elect Tsai herself. She said, if it hadn’t been for President-elect Tsai she wouldn’t enter the political arena. She explains how her current work can be difficult and stressful sometimes and replies, “but then I see Dr Tsai, and if I think my job is tiring, hers is a thousand times more.”. She understands the responsibilities in her work, not only as a job, but a full time dedication for the Taiwanese people, that is to say, Dr Chen is an inspiring and hardworking person.
Dr Chen elaborated on the future foreign policy goals of the DPP, that is, to make Taiwan a substantive and meaningful participant and contributor to the international community. In her opinion, Taiwan’s foremost priorities are to foster regional cooperation by participating in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, disease prevention, and climate change mitigation efforts. Furthermore, One of Taiwan’s most valuable assets is its vibrant civil society. Through working with civil and social groups, Dr Chen hopes she and her team can continue to help enhance Taiwan’s international partnership and cooperation.
In addition, Dr Chen and the DPP are devoted to building sustainable relationships with friends from around the world. One of top priorities for them is to strengthen Taiwan’s partnerships with the United States, Japan, Australia and other like-minded democracies. On Cross-Strait Relations, Dr Chen agrees with Dr Tsai Ing-wen’s position that the maintenance of “status quo” serves the best interest of all parties concerned, and that the peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations should be conducted in accordance with the will of the Taiwanese people.
Dr Chen is a down to earth and thoughtful person, in aspects of selflessness and love for her country, culture and heritage. She is willing to work hard in making Taiwan a better place. She is strong, and understands what it is to be a humanitarian “Always remember who you are and why you are doing these things to begin with” and to “Always keep yourself grounded” are her words of advice to those younger than her and are interested in joining the world of politics.