Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that while on assignment in Taiwan on February 20, 2012 he met with leadership, including Grand Master Hsing Yun, at the Buddha Memorial Center in Kaohsiung City to thank the Fo Guang Shan organization for offering 2 scholarships for students from American Samoa to attend the University of the West (UWest) located in Rosemead, California, just ten minutes from Los Angeles.
“Fo Guang Shan is one of Taiwan’s largest Buddhist organizations, with over 100 branch temples around the world, including Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California,” Faleomavaega said. “In 1991, Grand Master Hsing Yun – the founding master of Fo Guang Shan – established three post-secondary educational institutions, including the University of the West.”
“UWest started in just one classroom at Hsi Lai Temple. In 1996, a campus was purchased in Rosemead and, today, UWest offers programs in Business Administration, Psychology, English, ESL, and Religious Studies. Offering a whole-person education, UWest is a private, nonprofit university accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is open to students of all faiths. One of UWest’s primary missions is to facilitate cultural understanding between the East and the West, which I believe is timely and unique.”
“This is why I want to thank Venerable Miaohong, Special Assistant to the President of the University of the West, for visiting my office prior to my departure for Taiwan to discuss the University’s offer to provide 2 scholarships to students from American Samoa for the 2012 school year,” Faleomavaega said. “The 1-year scholarships, worth about $10,000 each, cover tuition, books, and housing at the University. Each year, students may re-apply for additional scholarships or for work-study programs.”
“So, on behalf of our students who will compete for these 2 scholarships, I express my appreciation to UWest for including American Samoa as part of its global outreach. Like Dr. C.S. Wu, President of UWest stated, ‘A student isn’t whole until she knows where she comes from, who she is today and what possibilities lay before her in the future.’ I couldn’t agree more. In fact, this line of thought is similar to Samoan culture and traditions in which we pass down from generation to generation the wisdom of the past for purposes of navigating a future that pays homage to who we are and where we’re from.”
“No doubt we are carving out a new future together with the University of the West, and because of the generosity of the University, I thought it was important while I am in Taiwan to pay my respects to Venerable Grand Master Hsing Yun for making these scholarships possible. I thank Venerable Grand Master Hsing Yun for the kindness and goodwill extended during my visit. I was deeply touched that he invited me to meet with him, and I was honored by the experience. He is a man of goodness and my visit with him left an impression on my heart that I will never forget."
"He even said if our students are interested in pursuing an education at one of Fo Guang Shan's other campuses in Taiwan he would also work with us to make this possible. Words cannot express how I feel about the Venerable Grand Master's kind offer to students from American Samoa, but I thank him for being our friend and I extend to him my highest regards on behalf of the people of American Samoa."
“I also want to thank Joseph Merante, Executive Director of the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) for introducing me to UWest. HDI works to solve difficult humanitarian problems around the world and foster dialogue between the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, and it is my sincere hope that our two scholarship recipients from American Samoa will also engage in work around the world that will make a difference in the lives of others,” Faleomavaega concluded.