SU hosts first American Corner US Embassy Talks
Silliman University (SU) American Studies Resource Center (ASRC) hosted the first American Corner (AC) US Embassy Talks featuring three alumni and one student of the university who are authorities in their field of expertise.
The event, held at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium, featured Atty. Myrish Cadapan-Antonio, 2019 Harvard Hero Awardee and 2019 Outstanding Sillimanian Awardee; Asst. Prof. Ian Fermin Rosales Casocot, five-time Don Carlos Palanca Awardee; Val Amiel Vestil, founder of the Association of Young Environmental Journalists; and Foreign Affairs student Shamah Bulangis, a fellow of the YSEALI Academic Fellowship.
Antonio, director of Fellowship and Leadership Development Programs of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, talked on democracy, transparent governance, rule of law and human rights.
Antonio said that the transparency in government requires public authorities to keep citizens in equal position with decision makers and to provide citizens with information at the same time as the rest of the administration.
Casocot, on the other hand, talked about his experience as the Philippine representative to International Writing Program in Iowa City last 2010.
Culture and the arts, said Casocot, can be significant movers in “rendering the world a better place” through “soft power diplomacy.”
Meanwhile, Vestil encouraged the youth to make “real, effective change” by making relevant noise and causing proactive disruption as he redefined the term ‘pabibo’ in his talk on the environment.
“Gone are the days when we have to wait for policy-makers, academic institutions, lawyers, engineers, scientists, and experts to make real, effective change. We just have to wake up that inner pabibo in us…We need to disrupt the order of things that we know isn’t right,” he said.
On youth activism and empowerment, Bulangis emphasized the importance of empowering others and shared the stories of young activists Joshua Wong, Greta Thunberg and Isabel Sieh, who fight with “power and purpose.”
Dr. Myra E. Villanueva, University Librarian, said the AC US Embassy Talks is a platform of the US embassy to invite the youth of Negros Oriental to participate in US Government Scholarships such as the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and other programs of the US Embassy such as the Foreign National Student Intern Program, Philippine-American Educational Foundation, and Education USA.
Villanueva said the event was held through the partnerships of US Embassy and SU through its network of University-based American Corners in the Philippines.
The event held last August 19 that highlighted the accomplishments and stories of U.S. Government Exchange Alumni and university faculty, was attended by high school and college students from different schools in Negros Oriental; SU students, faculty and and library staff.
The AC US Embassy Talks is the signature speaker program of the American Spaces of the US Embassy in the Philippines.
The SU ASRC or American Corner Dumaguete, located at the first floor of the Robert B. & Metta J. Silliman Main Library, provides a wide variety of books, periodicals, CD-ROMs, DVDs, VCDs, VHS tapes, electronic journals and other materials for those interested in studies and issues related to the United States. Established in 2003 upon a memorandum of agreement between the US Embassy in Manila and SU, the SU ASRC is the only AC in the region hosted by an academic institution. It also co-sponsors seminars, lectures, and other activities on American studies as part of its program.
(with reports and photos from/by Francis Ryan B. Pabiania, organizing committee member of the AC US Embassy Talks Dumaguete)