CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University has new partnership agreements with National Taiwan University and the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute following a cultural and education trip to that country by OSU President Paul Risser.

The agreements will allow OSU to engage in a variety of collaborative activities with its new partners, including student and faculty exchanges, sharing of knowledge and resources, and joint research projects. Risser was invited to visit Taiwan as a guest of the Ministry of Education.

"It was a wonderful experience with a positive result," Risser said of the trip. "OSU has much in common with these new partner institutions and technological advances have created new opportunities for collaboration that previously would have been difficult because we are separated by the Pacific Ocean. Technology, however, is able to bridge that separation and we have a brighter future because of it."

Risser said future activities with these universities likely will include distance education courses and degrees, shared library services and materials, joint master's degrees in a variety of fields, internship programs, English language training, student and faculty exchanges, and joint research. Collaborative research areas, he said, might focus on engineering, marine science, ecology, and natural resources.

The partnerships strengthen OSU's growing connection to Taiwan and the rest of Asia. The university already had cooperative agreements with National Pingtung University and the Chinese Cultural University in Taiwan, and has student exchange agreements with universities in Hong Kong and Japan. Risser also has twice visited Beijing, China, including once as a member of Gov. Kitzhaber's trade mission.

"One common thread evident throughout Taiwan is that the citizens and the officials recognize the value of higher education," Risser said. "In nearly every conversation I had, the Taiwanese were quick to credit college education with the remarkable economic growth their country has experienced."

While in Taiwan, Risser and his wife, Les, met with OSU alumni groups in three cities. More than 200 Oregon State alums live in Taiwan.

"OSU is held in high regard throughout Taiwan and our alums there maintain strong ties to the university," Risser said.

The trip was paid for by the Taiwan Ministry of Education. Also participating for OSU were Kelvin Koong, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and a native of Taiwan, and Dwayne Foley, executive director of the OSU Alumni Association.

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Paul Risser, 541-737-4133