Taiwan’s peaceful transition to democracy is not only a historical accomplishment for its twenty-three million people, but a landmark in the worldwide spread of democracy. Only after years of struggle and effort could this transformation take place. We must never forget this history, for it shapes the cornerstone of our continued commitment to the principles of democracy and human rights.

The Foundation was established with an inter-related, two-tracked mission in mind. Domestically, the TFD strives to play a positive role in consolidating Taiwan’s democracy and fortifying its commitment to human rights; internationally, the Foundation hopes to become a strong link in the world? democratic network, joining forces with related organizations around the world. Through the years, Taiwan has received valuable long-term assistance and stalwart support from the international community, and it is now time to repay that community for all of its efforts.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy project in 2002. After much research and careful evaluation, the Ministry integrated the required resources from many sectors of society. In January 2003, the Ministry obtained the support of all political parties to pass the budget for the Foundation in the legislature. The TFD formally came into being on June 17, 2003, with its first meeting of the Board of Trustees and Supervisory Board. At that meeting, Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng was elected its first chairman. According to its By-laws, the TFD is governed by a total of fifteen trustees and five supervisors, representing political parties, the government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and the business sector.

The primary source of funding for the TFD is the government. However, it is independently incorporated, non-partisan, and non-profit. According to its By-laws, the Foundation may accept international and domestic donations. One fifth of its budget is reserved for Taiwan’s political parties, supporting their own international and local initiatives that are in line with the mission of the TFD. The remaining budget is used for the TFD core activities, including:

    Building relationships with related institutions around the world.Participating actively in the global promotion of democracy and supporting the improvement of human rights conditions.Supporting democracy promotion activities of NGOs and academic institutions.Promoting research and publications on democratic developments at home and abroad; andHolding seminars, workshops, conferences, and other educational activities in the area of democracy and human rights.