Taiwan democracy project returns to APARC this fall


After twelve years at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, the Taiwan Democracy Project will be returning to its original home at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) this fall. During its tenure at CDDRL, the Taiwan Democracy Project was led by FSI Senior Fellow Larry Diamond, who expanded the research agenda to examine the political, social and regional dynamics confronting democracy in Taiwan. A particular focus for the Program was cross-Strait relations and the increasing threats from regional neighbors. 

The Taiwan Democracy Project hosted an annual conference on Taiwan democracy at Stanford bringing together Taiwanese scholars and experts, as well a very active speaker series that ran through the course of the academic year. Several publications also emerged from the program, most recently, Taiwan's Democracy Challenged: The Chen Shui-bian Years, edited by Yun-han Chu, Larry Diamond and Kharis Templeman, which provides a sweeping account of Taiwan’s democratic performance from 2000-2008.

Other edited books of the project compared political trajectories in Taiwan and mainland China, and assessed the policy and institutional challenges confronting the maturing democracies of Taiwan and Korea. A fourth book, assessing the recently concluded presidency of Ma Ying-jeou, is now in preparation. The program also hosted a fellowship program for senior public administrators in the Taiwan government who spent an academic quarter in residence at CDDRL. An undergraduate student fellowship allowed Stanford students to spend a summer in Taiwan to examine different dimensions of its democratic transition. 

"We are very proud of what we were able to accomplish during these last twelve years," said Larry Diamond at the conclusion of CDDRL's hosting of the project. "Taiwan is one of the most vibrant and successful democracies of the Third Wave of global democratization, and what we have learned has significant implications not only for Taiwan's democratic future, but for the possible - and I believe eventual - emergence of democracy on the mainland as well. We are especially grateful to our partners at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco, which has provided generous support while always respecting the core principle of academic freedom."

In returning to APARC, the Taiwan Democracy Project’s focus will shift to examine the challenges of democracy and security and will be renamed the Taiwan Democracy and Security Project under the leadership of Karl Eikenberry, the Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow and the director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at APARC. Kharis Templeman, who has been at CDDRL for over four years managing the project, will continue in this capacity as the project's director at APARC.