Coen Blaauw, a senior policy adviser to the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) in Washington, was awarded a civilian order by Taiwan on Saturday in recognition of his “exceptional contributions” to promoting relations between Taiwan and the US over the past three decades.
Blaauw, a Dutch lawyer who has been lobbying for Taiwan and drafting legislation related to the country throughout most of his career, was bestowed the Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon, which is one of Taiwan’s top civilian awards.
The order was conferred on behalf of the Taiwanese government by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who said at the ceremony that the association and Blaauw’s hard work and dedication had helped to build tremendous bipartisan, bicameral support for Taiwan on Capitol Hill.
That type of support for Taiwan “is sometimes the subject of envy, not only from other countries, but also from the perspective of American domestic politics,” she said.
Blaauw, who is from the Netherlands, became interested in Taiwan during his university years. He wrote his thesis about the Dutch-Taiwanese submarine deal of 1981, and afterwards he gradually became involved in Taiwan affairs.
He joined the association in 1989 and has since been actively lobbying for Taiwan issues in the US Congress. The pro-Taiwan legislation he has drafted over the years included the Taiwan Travel Act, which took effect in 2018 and encourages exchange visits by US and Taiwan officials at all levels.
Blaauw, who plans to retire in April next year, said he would remain involved in Taiwan matters even after he retires.
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