Written by Dr Isabelle Cockel

Secretary-General of European Association of Taiwan Studies (2022-24)


On 6th February 2023, we learned the sad news that Professor Chu Yun-han has passed away due to illness. We at the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) have much to thank him for in his capacity as the President of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCK Foundation). EATS was established in London at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London in 2004. Since its inception, EATS has received generous support from the CCK Foundation under Professor Chu’s leadership. As we prepare to celebrate our 20th anniversary at our birth place, we are saddened by the passing of Professor Chu.

With the CCK Foundation’s support, since 2004, the Annual Conference of EATS has been convened at 18 universities in west, north, east, central and south Europe, missing only once in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and once being organised online by Masaryk University in April 2021. When we say that the annual EATS conference has become a significant academic event for Taiwan Studies academic community around the world, we know this could not have been achieved without the CCK Foundation under Professor Chu’s stewardship. Since 2008, at EATS conferences, a total of 808 researchers, including faculty members, PhD students and postgraduate students, shared their research with their fellow presenters and audiences, presenting a wealth of 750 papers across the disciplines of humanities and social sciences. Between 2004 and 2020, a total of 343 publications about Taiwan in the forms of book monographs, edited volumes, journal articles, journal special issues, commentaries and blogs were published after their authors presented at EATS annual conferences.

Supported by the CCK Foundation’s generosity, since 2011, we have established various awards to nurture the talent and fund their cutting-edge research across disciplines, around the world. From 2011 onwards, 32 researchers at various stages of their academic career received the Young Scholar Award and, between 2019 and 2021, six undergraduate and postgraduate students received the Taiwan Studies Dissertation Award. Since 2013, we have used CCK Foundation funding to publish 21 issues of our bi-annual EATS Newsletter where we reported members’ conferences/workshops, institutional profiles, film screenings, summer schools and publications. Since 2014, we have funded 62 projects, conducted individually or collectively, which allowed the awardees to use library resources, organise workshops, conduct fieldwork and publish their academic works. In June 2021, we further received substantial funding that allowed us to realise our vision of constructing a platform to be shared by the global Taiwan Studies academic community. TransTaiwan: A Research Getaway To Taiwan Studies (TARGTS) is the brainchild of several Taiwan Studies organisations led by EATS and supported by the CCK Foundation.

As a long-term beneficiary, we are indebted to the CCK Foundation and Professor Chu for these achievements. To coordinate with ‘In Memoriam: Yun-Han Chu, 1956-2023’ of Taiwan Insight to publish this special commemorative series contributed by Professors Yu-shan Wu, Gunter Schubert, Bob Ash, Dafydd Fell, and Tse-min Lin, is our way to show our gratitude to Professor Chu for his commitment to supporting Taiwan Studies in Europe. We would simply say to him: thank you!