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Background

The Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange was established in 1989 in memory of the late President of the Republic of China, Chiang Ching-kuo (1910-1988). In 1986, a group of professors of Chinese descent at major American universities (including Cho-yun Hsu, Ying-shih Yu, and Kwang-chih Chang) wrote a joint letter to President Chiang Ching-kuo expressing their concern about the gradual decline of programs of Chinese Studies in overseas academic institutions. They suggested that, given the increased prosperity of the country, a foundation for international scholarly exchange should be established to support and promote the understanding of Chinese culture and society overseas.

In 1987, at the urging of then Minister of Education Kao-wen Mao, President Chiang accepted their recommendation, and instructed relevant government officials to study the ways and means for its implementation. Unfortunately, he passed away on January 13, 1988 before the study was completed. After his death, government officials continued to work to establish the foundation. Under the Ministry of Education's supervision, the Foundation was organized and named the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.

From the very beginning, the government of the Republic of China and donors from the private sector had the vision to establish the Foundation as an independent non-governmental scholarly agency. Beginning under the leadership of its two first Chairmen, K. T. Li and Kuo-hua Yu, the Foundation strove to adhere to the principle of awarding grants solely on the basis of academic merit. Professor Yih-yuan Li then served as Chairman for three terms. Under his leadership, the Foundation emerged as one of the most active and prestigious organizations dedicated to the promotion of Chinese Studies internationally. After Professor Li resigned on June 5, 2010, Dr. Kao-wen Mao succeeded him as the new Chairman of the Foundation. Since assuming the position of Chairman, Dr. Mao has followed the path of his predecessors, abiding by well-accepted academic principles and leading the Foundation to face the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Professor Yun-han Chu has served as President of the Foundation since 2003, when he succeeded Professor Yih-yuan Li.