With its vibrant democracy and civil society, Taiwan is a world leader in innovating to create positive social change and foster citizen-centered good governance. IRI programs support those innovators and connect Taiwan’s expertise to changemakers in the region and around the world.

Election rally in the rain

As a democracy with a strong commitment to fundamental freedoms, Taiwan’s experience holds valuable lessons for its neighbors in Asia and around the world. The country’s recent history of martial law and large people-power movements has created an environment where citizens actively work to solve governance challenges, and volunteerism, civil society organization formation and grassroots efforts to address social problems are widespread and strongly impact policymaking. IRI is working to ensure that those democratic solutions reach civic actors in other countries and contexts, while supporting Taiwanese organizations to implement projects and engage with global stakeholders.

Beginning in 2019, IRI worked closely with Taiwanese civic technologists to examine the role of digital disinformation in Taiwan’s 2020 elections (see report) and identify strategies for dealing with this 21st century challenge not only in Taiwan, but in democracies around the world. In 2021, IRI established a Taiwan office to expand its ability to engage and collaborate with those innovators, and it has since incorporated Taiwanese experts into research and projects focused on issues as diverse as advancing LGBTQI+ rights, digital technology and democracy, youth political participation, and countering external efforts to undermine elections and public trust in democratic institutions.

IRI’s Taiwan office is also a regional hub: it supports some of IRI’s most innovative programming on issues affecting democracies and political participation throughout Asia and the Pacific. Many of the most significant challenges to democracy in Asia are not unique to a particular country but have similar causes and present unique opportunities for civic actors to engage with their peers across the region to learn from each other and develop solutions. IRI’s Taiwan presence is key to the Institute’s efforts to foster those conversations, develop new strategies, and implement projects to support Asia’s diverse community of democratic actors working to promote equality, openness, and opportunity wherever they live.

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Regional Director, East Asia and the Pacific
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