The UP Faculty of Law has taken a significant step towards gaining its first foreign partner from Asia. It consisted of a trip to Taiwan, undertaken in January by Václav Stehlík, Dean of the Faculty, and Martin Faix, Vice Dean for International Affairs. They returned with pre-negotiated cooperation agreements, including with prestigious National Taiwan University, and also sought funding opportunities for these activities in meetings with local representatives of government institutions and industry.
Both members of management rate their trip to Asia, where they attended more than 12 meetings, as challenging, intense, and successful. “We had a warm welcome. I dare say that the interest shown by Taiwanese institutions is genuine. Czechs have a very good reputation in this Asian country. There is the will to cooperate on their side,” said Dean Stehlík.
The week-long foreign trip was a continuation of the last year’s activities of the Faculty of Law – namely, the stay of I-Hsun Sandy Chou, an American lawyer and native of Taiwan, who worked at Olomouc’s Law Faculty thanks to the Fulbright scholarship programme. “It was she with whom we first started talking about the possibilities of cooperation with this economically advanced Asian country. Moreover, it is a country that is highly developed in modern technologies, and that is important for us: for instance, in terms of the further development of our study programmes; we are introducing a new PhD programme in Law and Digital Technologies this year. We’ve had no partner from Asia yet,” said Faix. Last June, the Faculty of Law was actively involved in organising a visit of a delegation from Taiwan’s Constitutional Court to the Czech Republic. “Our school was the first institution they visited,” Faix recalled. On the basis of that successful first cooperation, the faculty soon received an invitation to visit the Constitutional Court in Taipei.
“This created an opportunity to visit the court as well as the local universities. Again, Sandy Chou helped us a lot with the organisation of the trip in January, arranging all the meetings,” Faix said. He presented a talk for the Taiwanese constitutional judges on the topic of punishing crimes from the communist era, while Dean Václav Stehlík spoke about the Czech Republic’s journey into the European Union, the subsequent transformation of the Czech legal system, and the benefits of membership in terms of democratisation.
The following days of the week-long foreign trip included visits to universities in various cities, including the most prestigious one – National Taiwan University, one of the top twenty universities in Asia according to international rankings. “At the universities, we mainly discussed exchange opportunities, participation in summer schools, and project cooperation,” said Faix. He added that the faculty is aware that these activities are more financially demanding.
The faculty representatives in Taipei were also successful in this aspect. They also met with a representative of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office, with whom they discussed various forms of financial support, including scholarships. “And we had a number of meetings with people who could potentially support our cooperation with Taiwanese institutions. For example, with people who are connected to companies that do businesses in the Czech Republic and Europe,” said Faix.
Now that management representatives have returned from Asia, all the information and documents brought back will be processed. This should result in the first cooperation agreements with Taiwanese schools.
The establishment of academic relations with this democratic island country builds on the previous activities of Palacký University Olomouc and is based on the current foreign policy of the Czech Republic.