Middle East Studies in Taiwan since 1957

Song Niu


Taipei and Beijing has been carried out fierce competition since 1949, which involves who can represent China, as well as Taiwan’s international space. The Middle East, a vast region with numerous countries, is an important area for both sides across the Taiwan Straits’ diplomatic competition. Nowadays, Beijing vigorously promotes the “Belt and Road Initiative”, and the Islamic world is a crucial target. There will be both opportunities and challenges for Taipei. Taiwan’s Middle East studies has played an important role in intellectually supporting Taipei’s Middle East diplomacy. Taiwan’s Middle East Studies discipline was founded by Taipei’s Republic of China (ROC) government in National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Arabic Department, Turkish Department and Diplomacy Department. NCCU has created “Middle East Language and Culture Intramural Courses” in College of Foreign Language and Literature, “Islamic Civilization and Thought Research Center” in Arabic Department, “Summer Camp for Middle East Studies” and the planning “Center for Middle East Studies” in College of International Affairs. “Islamic Research Institute” was established in 2009 by NCCU. In short, the Middle East Studies related discipline in Taiwan is unique to NCCU, and there are also students launch research related to the Middle East rely on their own backgrounds in other universities. There are two significant features in Taiwan’s Middle East Studies discipline: 1) from government-led development path to university-led academic freedom development path; 2) prosperity in Middle Eastern humanistic studies versus weakness in Middle Eastern social science studies.

Key words: Taiwan; Middle East Studies; NCCU; Arabic and Turkish; Department of Diplomacy

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