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Expanding understanding of Taiwan with a Fulbright-Hays grant

November 21, 2023

Paul Carrington in Ita Thao, a village on Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan June 2023

Paul Carrington in Ita Thao, a village on Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan June 2023

When Paul Carrington, managing director of the Jackson School’s East Asia Center at the University of Washington, applied and received a U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar Abroad grant in 2019 to go to Taiwan as a post-secondary administrator in 2020, he could not have predicted a Covid pandemic, which would postpone the trip until this year.

It was worth the wait. In June, Carrington was one of 16 participants from colleges and universities throughout the United States who travelled to Taiwan as a Fulbright-Hays study tour grantee.

“While I’ve lived in Japan and elsewhere in the region, I have only visited Taiwan for a very short time,” he said of his interest in focusing on Taiwan soon after he began his role at the UW’s Jackson School in early 2019. “Taiwan is a hot topic in international relations.”

Prior to his role at the Jackson School, Carrington served for seven years as assistant director and lecturer for the UW Tacoma Institute for Global Engagement and worked in education in East Asia.

With the mission of the UW’s East Asia Center to advance knowledge of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan throughout the UW and wider community, for Carrington the Fulbright-Hays grant requirement to develop a curriculum module on Taiwan was a unique opportunity to continue to support the development and expansion of the Taiwan Studies Program at the UW.

The nearly four-week trip involved meeting academics, activists, journalists, government officials, business representatives, indigenous community members and many others in cities and villages in Taiwan. Presentations covered a range of themes, including but not limited to Taiwan’s colonial history, Indigenous history and culture, cross-strait relations, social policy, environmental challenges and biodiversity. These were augmented by visits to history, archaeology and art museums, high schools and universities, cultural parks and government agencies.

Other grantees on the trip included faculty and administrators across disciplines, from environmental studies, geography, history, international relations to sociology, political science, and other areas.

“Our seminar made for an amazing trip that will motivate and sustain me for many years to come,” he said. “One highlight was fellow participants who represented different disciplines. Mine is international affairs, so I thought the trip would focus mostly on U.S.-Taiwan and China -Taiwan relations. But the program covered so many other themes, and our interdisciplinary cohort enhanced the experience and learning about Taiwan.”

Carrington is currently finalizing a Taiwan-focused curriculum as a toolbox for community college teachers both in the Pacific Northwest and nationally. The goal is to enable incorporation and creation of courses that explore themes of Taiwan colonial history and how it informs modern Taiwanese identity. He is also preparing a module that will serve as an introduction for study abroad in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city.

Once completed, the curriculum will be available on the East Asia Center website and the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright Hays website.

“I am incredibly grateful to everyone at the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange [based in Taipei] for extending such kindness and dedication throughout our time in Taiwan,” he said about the nonprofit that hosts the study tour on behalf of Fulbright Hays.

The East Asia Center at the University of Washington is housed in the Jackson School of International Studies. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Higher Education Act, it is a National Resource Center that also receives funding for Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students at the UW.  The Center also facilitates study abroad; supports development of K-12 and college curriculum; and hosts student workshops, conferences, public lectures and trainings.