Dr. Gerrit van der Wees is from The Netherlands. From 1980 through 2016 he served as editor of Taiwan Communiqué, a publication he and his Taiwan-born wife Mei-chin Chen started in the aftermath of the “Kaohsiung Incident” of December 1979. In the subsequent years, the publication played a key role in focusing the attention of the American Congress, the State Department, and the international community on human rights and the lack of democracy on the island. Back issues are available at www.taiwandc.org/twcom/
Gerrit has a background in Aerospace Engineering (MA, Delft University, The Netherlands 1971) and Technology Transfer (Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle 1981). From 1982 through 2005 he served as a civil servant in the Dutch government, primarily in aerospace policy. From 1994 through 2000 he also served as a Dutch diplomat at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington.
In the summer of 2005, Gerrit and his wife returned to Washington DC to work for the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), a Taiwanese-American grassroots organization. At FAPA Headquarters, where he was responsible for contacts with the US Senate, the State Department, foreign embassies. He retired from that position in March 2016.
He is continuing to write commentaries on political developments in and around Taiwan for the Taipei Times, The Diplomat, TaiwanInsight (University of Nottingham) and The National Interest. Since 2012 he has taught History of Taiwan at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and starting 2020 he is teaching a graduate seminar on Current Issues in East Asia, at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, and the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.