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Ambassador Tom Chou visited the Embassy of Saint Lucia

Ambassador Tom Chou visited the Embassy of Saint Lucia
On 3:30 pm, February 3, 2021, the Commissioner of External Affairs of the Taipei City Government Tom Chou led the Deputy Executive Director Adam Yi and three other members of the Mayor’s Office to the Embassy of Saint Lucia for an exchange with Ambassador Edwin Laurent regarding the cooperation on education, pandemic prevention, tourism, and cultural exchange.
Amb. Laurent stated that tourism is the most critical source of income for Saint Lucia. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the tourism industry worldwide, including in Saint Lucia. Cruise ships were nowhere to be seen, and the number of tourists plummeted. The economy was severely affected. In addition, Saint Lucia had nearly 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which was more than that of Taiwan. During this difficult time, Saint Lucia is grateful for the timely assistance from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Cooperation and Development Fund, and Taipei City Government.
Regarding education, Amb. Laurent said that he admires the Taipei City Government’s Taipei CooC-Cloud online teaching system. Such advanced teaching method that does not require physical contact is extremely suitable for countries under a severe pandemic. Therefore, Saint Lucia hopes to learn more about this system from the Taipei City Government.
As for cultural exchange, Amb. Laurent is highly interested in the international pen pal program copromoted by the Taipei City and Israeli governments. He believes that through such pen pal activities, young people from various countries can converse with each other on topics of global concern, such as climate change or sustainable energy, allowing global citizens to better relate to each other and to contribute to international society.
Chou stated that in late April, 2020, the Taipei City Government has documented its success in handling the pandemic in English and has shared its experience with all its sister cities, 50 in total, including Castries, the capital of Saint Lucia. If needed, Chou said that a teleconference could be arranged between the two capitals for further exchange regarding pandemic prevention.
As for Taipei’s CooC-Cloud online teaching system, Commissioner Chou stated plans in the near future where Amb. Laurent could negotiate with the Department of Education of the Taipei City Government. The meeting between Commissioner Chou and Amb. Laurent lasted for an hour and was perceived by both parties to be valuable.
Saint Lucia has official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan). Saint Lucia occupies 600 km2 and has a population of 180,000 people. Their income per capita is US$13,500. Although Saint Lucia is small, it boasts two Nobel laureates, Arthur Lewis, who won the 1979 Nobel Prize in Economics, and Derek Walcott, who won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Commissioner Chou had been the Ambassador of the Republic of China to Saint Lucia from 2007 to 2012. Because Taiwan’s relief projects benefited many students, farmers, and disadvantaged people, he was popular among Saint Lucia’s residents. In 2017, a young entrepreneur in eastern Saint Lucia opened a restaurant and named it “Tom Chou Restaurant & Bar” after Chou as an appreciation of Taiwan’s support.