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Introduction

The Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Taipei, the capital of the Republic of China on Taiwan. It also maintains a regional office in McLean, Virginia near Washington D.C. in the United States. The Foundation was established in 1989 in honor of the late President Chiang Ching-kuo. During his presidency, Chiang Ching-kuo initiated a series of economic reforms crucial to this country's rapid economic development. In 1986, he further proposed several major political reforms, including the lifting of martial law, the reform of the Legislative Yuan, the legalization of opposition political parties, and the humanitarian policy of allowing citizens to visit relatives in mainland China. These policies helped accelerate the process of democratization in Taiwan.

In 1987, a group of professors of Chinese descent at major American universities 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. They believed that, in the long run, such an organization would both strengthen the bonds between foreign and domestic scholarly communities and enhance the international standing of the Republic of China on Taiwan.

President Chiang Ching-kuo accepted the 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.

The Foundation's original endowment comes from two sectors, public and private. 53 million US dollars was originally allocated by the ROC Ministry of Education and 33 million US dollars came from private donors. The operational funds of the Foundation derive from the interest generated by this endowment.