Edna Lhou P. Masicampo and Jameela I. Mendoza
Silliman University (SU) hosted the first AFS International Programs Philippines (IPP) Congress on its third day last Sept. 1 at Silliman Hall, with 86 students and 22 educators as delegates from 20 schools around the country.
With the theme “The Role of Global Citizens in Nation Building,” the congress aimed to teach and discuss with participants the importance of intercultural learning, global citizenship, volunteerism and leadership in creating a progressive society.
“For you to be a global citizen, you should actively be participating in local community projects and activities. You can’t be a global citizen without being proactively active in your local communities,” said Oliver Amoroso, Vice President for GMA Network Inc. Regional TV Development, one of the speakers in the congress.
AFS is an international educational organization that aims to promote intercultural learning and help people develop human knowledge, skills and understanding for intercultural learning opportunities.
After the first two days of lectures at Foundation University and St. Paul University Dumaguete, student and educator delegates pitched project proposals that integrate global competence education in schools and communities.
Students and educators were grouped according to their schools or regions. Out of the 10 projects proposed by eight student groups and two educator groups, AFS IPP will choose only six projects.
“(AFS IPP) will be helping (the top six projects) to create funds and…our sponsors, like GMA Network Inc., the Province of Negros Oriental, the City of Dumaguete…will be helping us out in funding these projects,” said Joshua Toquero, AFS IPP programs specialist.
Toquero said the top six projects will be announced in their official website and other social media sites after about two months.
AFS in Silliman
AFS IPP Project Head Maria Theresa Borile said AFS IPP was invited by Dr. Edna Gladys Calingacion, SU dean of students, to hold the congress in Dumaguete where AFS IPP has established school clubs in partner universities like SU.
Borile added that AFS IPP gathered participants from various academic institutions in the Philippines that have partnerships with them.
Last year, AFS IPP had a public forum in Luzon with only educators as participants. After that, the AFS IPP team decided to recreate the event but with students.
“This is the first time that it is a four-day event in which the educators and the students were combined. We’ll see if this is a success and then we’ll actually repeat it next year in Mindanao,” Borile said.
Ilaria Costi, an AFS exchange student from North Italy who currently studies in Unibersidad de Santa Isabel in Naga, Camarines Sur, said the congress was worth joining because it taught her about global citizenship and helped her understand cultural differences.
The schools that participated in this year’s AFP IPP Congress were Foundation University, University of Batangas, Lyceum University of the Philippines, Calamba, St. Mary’s University Bayombong, Philippine Nikkei Jin Rai International School, Filamer Christian University, Silliman University, Bohol Island State University Main, St. Paul College of Ilocos Sur, Xavier University, Bohol Wisdom School, St. Paul University Dumaguete, Northwestern University, Davao Chung Hua High School, Palawan State University, Cainta Catholic College, Holy Name University, University of Perpetual Help System Biñan, Unibersidad de Santa Isabel and Legazpi Hope Christian School.