Representatives of countries participating in the Taiwan Reading Festival pose for a photograph at the event in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA

/ Staff writer, with CNA

Three diplomatic allies took center stage on the first day of the Taiwan Reading Festival in Taipei on Sunday by showcasing the countries' books and inviting children to take part in activities to promote their cultures in Taiwan.

Scores of children, accompanied by their parents, crowded his booths of the embassies of Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Saint Kitts and Nevis and Belize, where they showcased the countries' respective arts and crafts, stories and English-language books.

The booths, which were staffed by English-language teachers, invited children to paint the countries' respective flags and national symbols, and listen to excerpts read from the books by ambassadors and the teachers.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to Taiwan Andrea Bowman said her country's booth wants Taiwanese to explore the similarities between the two countries.

“We can see that through our books and of course you get to understand SVG, because there's still so many Taiwanese that have no idea of ​​SVG, whereas I can tell you every single Vincentian is aware of Taiwan and aware of Taiwan's role in SVG without a doubt,” said Bowman, who is the dean of the foreign diplomatic corps.

Saint Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to Taiwan Donya Francis, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in Taiwan, said it gives him a sense of excitement to present his country to Taiwanese.

"I always tell people I'm a Taiwanese, so I always accept the opportunity to give back to Taiwan. Yes, I did my studies here, my bachelor's and master's, and so I always look forward for the opportunity to teach Taiwanese about Saint Kitts and Nevis," Francis said.

At the festival's opening ceremony, Belizean Ambassador to Taiwan Candice Pitts donated six books — five for children and one for adolescent readers — to the National Central Library, the main organizer of the festival, which is held in early December each year.

She donated the books “to help expose Taiwanese, particularly the children, help them to be internationalized. So, we are delighted to participate in these projects to help build people-to-people understanding between our countries,” Pitts said.

The festival, held until today at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park, features more than 130 booths.

It includes talks by iconic actors and authors, including Taiwanese actress Brigitte Lin and Taiwanese writer Pai Hsien-yung.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES