When Ambassador Candice Pitts (PH.D. ’14) was appointed to represent the country of Belize in the Republic of China (Taiwan) in March 2021, she anticipated meeting diplomats from all over the world. To her surprise, she met someone from a place they both called home: a fellow Bison, Ambassador Jasmine E. Huggins (J.D. ’96), representing Saint Christopher and Nevis.
Huggins had been in Taiwan since she helped establish the embassy in 2008. “I was pleasantly surprised to discover another Howard alum serving in this beautiful country and pleased at the far reach of Howard’s educational footprint,” recalls Huggins. Both are working on developing bilateral relations between Taiwan and their respective countries in areas such as trade, tourism, education, health care, agriculture, infrastructure and social developments.
For Huggins, her favorite part about Taiwan, after 13 years, “is the warmth and friendliness of the people. Their humility and gentleness belie a strength that has allowed them to survive and thrive even under the most difficult circumstances,” she says. Since her arrival in March, Pitts has been immersing herself in the culture – visiting various cities, trying local foods (white fungus sweet soup is one of her favorites), participating in annual customs and learning basic Mandarin. It’s a change from her Howard days in Locke Hall in a department that she says many scholars and famous names came through to “continue to help forge the ways the world recognizes and identifies HU.”
“While [my] encounter [with Ambassador Huggins] is serendipitous,” Pitts says, “I imagine we are merely meeting and fulfilling those unspoken and additional cultural, social and political expectations and responsibilities all graduates receive upon our graduation from Howard University.”