Philippine Studies at U of W

ANAK and Global College sign agreement

– Aksyon ng Ating Kabataan Inc. (ANAK) and the University of Winnipeg Global College signed an agreement on Monday, March 29, creating a partnership that will bring a second Philippine Studies Summer Institute to the University of Winnipeg this August.

This year’s three-credit university course marks 50 years of Filipino achievements in Manitoba by tracing Filipino history in Manitoba and the Philippines. Guest instructor, Antonio Tujan Jr., Director of the IBON Research Foundation, will examine migration and development in the Philippines and explore the political, economic, and social impact of labour migration in the Philippines. Dr. Eliakim Sibanda, Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Global Studies at the University of Winnipeg Global College will also lecture at the Summer Institute.

“ANAK has worked with the Global College at the University of Winnipeg since 2007,” said Daisydee Bautista, a signatory and ANAK Director. “We are pleased to shed light on the less known plight of Filipino migrants and their human rights… and we are honoured to welcome Antonio Tujan Jr. from Manila – the foremost expert on Philippine migration and human rights as our guest lecturer.”

Referring to the aims of the Summer Institute, Bautista added in her speech, “It is my hope, as well as for our community, that this dialog continues as a permanent course in the University curriculum. I believe that it is time for education in Canada to truly reflect the diversity of its students. To be part of a multicultural nation we need multicultural understanding. We need to welcome discussion in order to facilitate knowledge and respect. The Philippine Studies Summer Institute is just the beginning of the development of this understanding.”

One of the signatories of the agreement, Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg said, “It is an appropriate and timely way to honour the first settlement of Filipino-Canadians in this community 50 years ago by having this Summer Institute… To understand where we are going, we have to know where we have been and I think this institute will give us that full opportunity.” Axworthy later told the Pilipino Express that he plans to visit the Philippines later this year to discuss agreements with certain universities in the Philippines that would allow students from Canada to take credit courses there, as well as enabling faculty exchanges between the universities involved.

Dr. Marilou McPhedran, Principal of Global College said, “The unique story of the creation of the Philippine-Canadian identity in Winnipeg has never officially been told. This Summer Institute and other projects organized with Global College and community partners such as ANAK intend to begin that process.”

McPhedran added, “Working with the passionate youth leaders at ANAK who want to increase access to Philippine Studies through this Global College Summer Institute is a good partnership in community learning.”

Winnipeg has the largest per capita Filipino-Canadian community in Canada with 10% of Canada’s entire Filipino-Canadian population.

Ebony Evangelista, Assistant to Executive Director, U of W Students Association said that the Summer Institute “provides the University more of an appreciation for Philippine culture and the Philippine population that is so [prevalent] on the campus… We have that stereotype that we [Filipinos] move here just to work. I think it’s about time that we start to realize that we also come here to educate ourselves to be better people.”

Dignitaries from all three levels of government attended the signing of the agreement between ANAK and the U of W Global College in the university’s Convocation Hall. They included, the Honourable Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, former Member of Parliament and one of the founders of the Global College; Judy Wasylycia-Leis, MP for Winnipeg North; Flor Marcelino, Manitoba Minister of Culture, Heritage & Tourism, responsible for Multiculturalism; Jim Rondeau, Manitoba Minister of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors; Kevin Lamoureux, MLA for Inkster, Pt. Douglas Councillor Mike Pagtakhan. Also on hand were University of Winnipeg Senior Administrators Dr. Niel Besner, Dr. Jeremy Scott and Dr. Brian Stevens.

Notable quotes from guests:

Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, former Member of Parliament and senior federal minister

"It widens the avenue of understanding between the Filipino community and the other communities in Manitoba and in Canada and, thereby, prevents conflict and provides opportunities for pursuit of common human aspirations."

Councillor Mike Pagtakhan:

"This is a really good thing and to have its genesis at the youth level… you really have to commend Darlyne and Daisydee [Bautista] and the members of ANAK who are living their dream and have created a partnership with the University of Winnipeg."

Flor Marcelino, Manitoba Minister of Culture, Heritage & Tourism, responsible for Multiculturalism:

"This is such an opportunity for our second generation immigrants to appreciate the culture of their parents and grandparents. And [Antonio] Tujan is a very sharp person… he’s very knowledgeable in the areas of migration economics [and] the reasons why the Philippine economy is in such disarray…"

Judy Wasylicia-Lies MP Winnipeg North:

"This shows the maturity of the Filipino-Canadian community. This is a coming of age. This is a moment when the community is showing to the rest of the world that [they] are a prominent, forceful part of the community and it is time to share… our history… This is a breakthrough."