Dr. Sun was a Population Council fellow in 1964 and went on to be a leader of Taiwan's family planning program and a promoter of economic development. He currently teaches Population and demography at the National Taiwan University in Taipei.
I was born in a rural area of Taiwan. At university, I planned to study agricultural economics to help farmers. But during my studies, a geography professor showed me that agricultural development was not keeping pace with fast population growth. From that moment, I became increasingly interested in the effects of population on individual health and societal development.
In 1961, with funding from the Population Council, a population studies center was established in Taichung City under the Health Department of Taiwan Provincial Government. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the Center on the famous "Taichung Study," which not only demonstrated that family planning was acceptable, but also shaped national family planning policies and changed lives. Once the Taichung Study was completed, the Population Council provided me with a two-year fellowship to the University of Michigan's Population Studies Center to help analyze and translate the Taichung survey for wide dissemination.
After the completion of Taiwan's demographic transition in the 1980s, I was invited to join a commission of the Taiwan President's Cabinet, where today I oversee research, development, and evaluation of the government's policies and programs. While leading Taiwan's family planning program, I have been lucky to go to many developing countries to see their family planning programs and in turn invite them to Taiwan. I teach demography at the National Taiwan University. None of this would have happened to me were it not for the fellowship from the Population Council.
I give to the Council because I owe much to the Council for my career. I have worked for decades to promote family planning in Taiwan and have seen much progress in the quality of people's lives in my country. Policymakers, program managers, and others concerned with population and development issues turn to the Population Council for rigorous research results that change national policies and programs and improve lives. The Council is one of the most important organizations to help humankind live more happily with good health.