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Personal profile

Curriculum vitae

Hi! I am Wasiq Silan (I-An Gao 高怡安). I am a PhD candidate at the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki (BA National Taiwan University; MA University of Helsinki). My research concerns social policy and Indigenous peoples, with Tayal people in Taiwan as a focus.

During my BA, I visited Peking University as a student representative from political science department at the National Taiwan University. During my MA, I worked as an intern at the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law at the Arctic Center in Rovaniemi and as a collaborative researcher at National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taipei. For four years, I have been actively participating United Nations Permanent Forum on the Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) as NGO delegate from Taiwan Indigenous Peoples. I was awarded SUPRA scholarship from Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) June-July 2017. I worked as a salaried position doctoral researcher under the Swedish School of Social Science (2018-2020).

I am currently affliated to the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN) and my dissertation is funded by the prestigious Finnish Cultural Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in Europe.

I attended World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium 2019 and 5th Indigenous Voices in Social Work conference in Hualien, from which I realized it is time to commit to my identity as an Indigenous scholar. The transition from using my westernized name 'Grace' to my Indigenous and Han Chinese names deepened my research interests concerning indigeneity, knowledge, naming, language and power.  

Description of research and teaching

My research deals with Indigenous Peoples and how indigeneity is tackled in the policy framing in the context of long-term care. In doing so, the research aims to contribute to a more profound understanding of how social and cultural rights can be accommodated as far as Indigenous Peoples are concerned. The main case study for the study is Taiwan and Tayal Indigenous people, with critical reflection drawn from the Sámi and Finland.

In 2017, I taught an online course pertaining to Indigenous ways of knowing in the context of a course "Sustainability and Social Work" at MacEwan University, Canada. In the Spring of 2018, I taught two intensive courses concerning Taiwan Indigenous Peoples in Austronesia in Palacký University, Czech Republic. In Autumn 2018, I will be co-organizing a couple of courses/mentoring targetting for the students in the Ethnic Relations, Cultural Diveristy and Integration (ERI) program and Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies (COS).

I am a cultural entrepreneur and an educator. I have been teaching Mandarin Chinese to children and adults in a local Finnish start-up company in Helsinki since 2016. I have extensive experience in freelance interpreting (Mandarin Chinese-English) and hosting events.

Education information

Master's Degree Programme in Ethnic Relations, Cultural Diversity and Integration (ERI), Master of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

2011 → 2014

Fields of Science

  • 517 Political science
  • indigenous peoples
  • Long-term care
  • comparative politics
  • self-determination
  • decolonization
  • social rights
  • cultural rights
  • 5141 Sociology
  • anthropology
  • knowledge
  • indigenous politics
  • critical ethnography
  • power
  • health
  • care
  • 5145 Social work
  • community building
  • indigenous sovereignty
  • indigenous social work
  • trauma and healing

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.


Book Reviews: Helander-Renvall, Elina. Sámi Society Matters

Gao, I-A., Feb 2019, In : Suomen Antropologi. 43, 2, p. 121-123 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review (scientific)Scientificpeer-review

Open Access

Efforts and Concerns for Indigenous Language Education in Taiwan

Gao, I-A., Lin, C-F. & Lin, P-I., 2019, Handbook of Indigenous Education. McKinley, E. A. & Smith, L. T. (eds.). Singapore: Springer , p. 443-465 23 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Insights into Positionality and the Voicing of Indigeneity in Research: Towards a Critical Theory of Inbetweenness

Gao, I-A. & Mataira, P. J., 2019, In : Dutkansearvvi dieđalaš áigečála. 3, 2, p. 108-124

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Outcasts of Empire: Japan’s Rule on Taiwan’s ‘Savage Border’ 1874–1945, written by Paul D. Barclay, (2018)

Gao, I-A., Sep 2019, In : International Journal of Taiwan Studies. p. 377-380

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Indigenous Peoples’ Self-determination and Long-term Care: Sápmi and Nunavut

Gao, I-A., 2018, In : Social Work and Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory. 1, 1, p. 1-40 40 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalOther articlesScientificpeer-review

Open Access



Chancellor's Travel Grant

Grace I-An Gao (Recipient), 18 Oct 2017

Prize: Prizes and awards

Chancellor's Travel Grant

Grace I-An Gao (Recipient), 13 Apr 2017

Prize: Prizes and awards

Chancellor's Travel Grant

Grace I-An Gao (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Prizes and awards

International Student Grant

Grace I-An Gao (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Prizes and awards


Re-searching Care Policies for the Indigenous Elders

I-An Wasiq Gao (Speaker)
7 Aug 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

HELSUS roundtable discussion: Indigenous sustainabilities II

I-An Wasiq Gao (Attendee)
10 Sep 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Ageing men and their social relationships

I-An Grace Gao (Attendee)
26 Mar 201927 Mar 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

From Multiple-factor classification to Ecological care: Walking across boundaries

I-An Grace Gao (Speaker)
20 May 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Organizing, chairing and presenting in a seminar on "Recent Development in Hong Kong"

I-An Wasiq Gao (Attendee)
16 Sep 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Press / Media

My Multicultural Encounter in Finland: A Taiwanese Researcher's Standpoint

Grace I-An Gao, Lucy Tung, Huan-Ya Chen-Ketonen, Chia-Enn Li, Hongda Lin, Chien-Ting Jessie Hsu & Teemu Reisbacka


5 Media contributions

Press/Media: Press / Media

Active Volunteering in the Local Community

Grace I-An Gao & Minerva Liu


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media