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Videoconference between the doctor-turned-mayors of Taipei and Prague: The two cities advance hand in hand toward the post pandemic “new normal”

Art editor Img Art editor Img
The ties between Taipei and Prague are growing ever stronger despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a distance of 9000 kilometers. Over the past 2 years since Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib assumed office, Taipei and Prague have become sister cities welcoming multiple exchange delegations, establishing close cooperation in numerous fields including animal protection, music and culture, tourism, and smart city development. Mayor Hřib also displayed his friendship by championing the Czech government’s provision of vaccines to Taiwan following the COVID-19 outbreak in the country earlier this year.
Although the distance between Taipei and Prague spans half a planet, a strong bond has been forged. On July 26 of this year (2021), a bilateral video conference was held between the two cities. Jointly presided by Mayor Ko and Mayor Hřib, the conference was also attended by Patrick Rumlar, head of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office, Taipei; Liang-Ruey Ke, head of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Prague; and Tom Chou, Commissioner of the Department of Civil Servant Development, Taipei. The two mayors, both doctors by profession, were able to share their country’s pandemic-response experiences with professional acumen and exchange ideas on commercial and cultural affairs in search of new opportunities for bilateral cooperation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on people’s day-to-day lives around the world. Industries and residents in Taipei have adapted to a “new normal”. At the conference, New Normal, New Taipei, a white paper on Taipei’s post pandemic industrial transformation was shared, advocating the city’s support for bilateral growth in economic, technological, and cultural spheres. Mayor Hřib has also been invited to attend the Smart City Summits & Expos organized by Taipei City next year in March. Providing the pandemic situation has been brought under control, will be held in person, enabling Mayor Hřib to once again experience the friendliness of the citizens of Taipei.
During the video conference, Mayor Hřib reiterated his gratitude for Taiwan’s timely donation of medical masks during the COVID-19 outbreak in the Czech Republic. He also expressed his anticipation of visiting Taiwan next year to discuss Taipei’s strategies for urban digitalization and international education initiatives, such as student exchange and internship programs.