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Former President Lee Teng-hui speaks at alma mater

National Taiwan Normal University welcomed back a very special alumnus this past Wednesday -- former Republic of China (ROC) President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), the first chief executive elected directly by the Taiwanese people.

Lee graduated 75 years ago from the school when it was still known as Taihoku College under Japanese rule. The former leader headed back to his alma mater to speak about his journey of self-discovery on a personal and national level.

Lee told students and faculty that a Taiwanese 'reawakening' starts from considering the question of what makes a person Taiwanese in today's world. He said that answering 'who am I?' is particularly important for Taiwan.

He called on attendees to rise above the in-fighting that plagues many parts of Taiwan's democracy as part of a process of escaping the old and welcoming the new. He advised students to spend their youth learning so that they could put their knowledge into action in the future.

Lee also shared his two principles in decision making: humility and cool-headedness. He said that upholding these will make goals clearer and solutions easier to find.

In contrast to popular criticism of today's youths, the former president said he believes that students today are represent the smartest, most informed young people Taiwan has ever seen, and he encouraged them to always strive to be more.