May 10, 2018
Written by: Steven Chen (陳冠儒)
Photo Credit: NTUEA (臺大學生會外務部)
The National Taiwan University (NTU) International College Provisional Office and the NTU Student Association, the Department of External Affairs (EA), continue to work together this semester in the first co-hold event “The Youth Talk: Those Dreams and Freedom (青年講堂:夢想與自由)” on the 10th of May, with over 80 students in attendance.
In “The Youth Talk: Those Dreams and Freedom,” the NTUEA had successfully invited three distinguished speakers: Mr. Liu (劉仕傑) the young diplomat who is now running the office, Ms. Chang (張希慈) the founder and the current CEO of the City Wanderer (城市浪人), and Dr. William Stanton (司徒文) the former director of AIT (American Institute in Taiwan), also the visiting professor at International College of NTU, to share with us their unique and inspiring stories.
“I perhaps was the best baseball player in Palau” said Mr. Liu, or Jerry the young diplomat, who had been on his foreign services in Palau from 2015 to 2017. Jerry was the first speaker of the event, delivering his speech by sharing with the audiences his unforgettable life in Palau. There, despite all living inconveniences and trivialities at work, Jerry had a strong connection with the locals, and thus made he knew in heart what was called the authentic friendship; and more than that, the meaning in devoting his life to the country he loved the most, Taiwan.
As he made up his mind in running for the office, he spoke of his dream “in involving politics” when at a very young age. He encouraged all young people not to forget what they had insisted simply because giving up was never the solution for the question. Instead, young people should step out of the comfort zone. “There are one-hundred reasons in stopping you from realizing your dreams, but you only need one reason to do it,” said Jerry, confidently smiling as he gave out his suggestions to all attendees at the end of his speech.
With the topic “What Stops You to Achieve Your Dream?” Ms. Chang, or Annie, began her speech by kindly asking questions to all attendees: what stops you from pursuing your dreams? What are you afraid of? And most importantly, are you satisfied with your life now? “To overcome the fear, you have to be brave,” Annie, the CEO of City Wanderer, also the winner of the “30 under 30 Asia” chosen by the Forbes magazine, said as she spoke of her story when making up her mind in started this organization, full of difficulties and challenges. Annie said that all she wanted to do was to help young people find “the real self.” She hoped all the young could “leave, explore and create” and thus everyone will be closer to their dreams little by little.
Annie spoke not only about the long term goals of City Wanderer, but also the bold yet exciting stories that she and her friends had done while still was a college student. Every step of the way, she was self-exploring, and more than that, she never gave in to any difficulty. She mentioned to all attendees happily of one of her experiences years ago, in which she purchased a round-trip ticket to Australia simply in hope of meeting the person she admired for a long time. “You have to do the research first, and then you know what you like,” said Annie, smiling as she winded up her speech.
During the break, a short video recorded by the China Study Society of Student’s Union of University of Hong Kong (HKU) was played, mainly about the responses students in HK may possess when it comes to the issue of dreams and freedom. The mentioned organization was invited by the NTUEA.
As the event entered into its second half session, the cross-dialogue session, the NTUEA was more than happy to welcome Dr. William Stanton, or Bill, to join the talk with the other two young speakers, along with the head of the NTUEA, Steven, to mediate the session.
The session began with a crucial discussion of the “generational conflict,” in which it was argued that parents were mostly the ones that chose to stop the young in pursuing their dreams. “To all of you, how would you respond to such question when your parents are standing on the opposite side?” asked Steven the mediator. Bill the former director of AIT, also the visiting professor at International College of NTU, replied by sharing with us his experiences in both being once a young man that was in pursuit of his dream in becoming a diplomat, and a father who had already been facing such difficulties with his daughters at home. He also commented that he realized it was never an easy job, but it was not that difficult yet to stop all the young from trying to persuading their parents. There was always a way if you were ready to fight for it. Then, here was Annie. She spoke of her ambitious characteristic had made her quarreled with her parents unceasingly, yet still persuaded them eventually. As for Jerry, he shared with us his story in combating against his “destined destiny” set up by his parents.
“If you could travel back in time and still be a university student, was there anything that you had not done yet, or anything you think could be done better?” asked Steven, smiling, in hope of all guests to share more. “I would choose to learn Chinese at least that was what I had told my daughters,” said Bill, laughing as he gave more observations over the years in his diplomat career to support his answer. “Or at very least, you have to learn another language,” Bill proposed, as he believed that it was a useful way to surpass the competitive peers. Then it was Annie’s turn. She told everyone that she did no regret, and therefore encouraged all the young to live at the moment. “To be the change you want to see in the world” Annie finally added. Last but not least, Jerry spoke of his past as he was the student that liked to skip classes. “I might try to attend more classes, but what I want to say is, to exhaust yourself, in everything you like,” Jerry finally suggested, happily.
“You have to be a person of stories, not money” said Bill, followed by a round of applause for all speakers in the end. Perhaps what Youth Talk could really do is to gather more voices, give out more inspiring stories, and hope to bring more strength to all attendees as they left the event with more inspirations and blueprints in mind.