Ateneo de Davao University participates in the Global Leadership Forum - Asia Pacific

Forty-six (46) student leaders from Ateneo de Davao University participated in the online Global Leadership Forum – Asia Pacific last 29 October 2020. 

In pursuit of strategic internationalization, the Ateneo Internationalization for Mindanao (AIM) Office continues to seize opportunities of global experiential learning for the holistic formation of the Ateneans. Therefore, in collaboration with SAMAHAN ng mga Mag-aaral ng Pamantasan ng Ateneo de Davao, the University’s official student government, students from various clubs, organizations, student executive councils, and departments had the opportunity to learn from esteemed international speakers and engage with student delegates from universities across the Asia-Pacific region in various sessions of the Global Leadership Forum hosted by the Common Purpose.

The virtual event is designed with two keynote sessions, five Leadership Masterclasses, and five Leadership Insight sessions, which the students could tailor into their desired sequence of online sessions, depending on the combination of sub-events they wish to attend.

The program started with the opening keynote session entitled: “How will you take ownership of the leadership that will define you and your Generation?” with Mr. Sashi Cheliah, the 2018 MasterChef Australia winner. Throughout the session, the delegates learned the difficulty of maintaining a large-scale business in a pandemic, the leadership journey Mr. Cheliah pursued post-MasterChef, and the youth’s importance in realizing one’s leadership in a post-pandemic world. 

After the opening keynote session, the delegates were allowed to choose from five Leadership Masterclass sessions. The sessions were mostly centered around the following themes: 1) Emphasis on creating partnerships through cross-sectoral collaborations to achieve the ASEAN SDGs, 2) the current situation of the business sector in the ASEAN and its changing role in society, 3) the importance of protecting the youth in the digital sphere and being a catalyst for social impact, and 4) creating a culture of innovation by forming leaders equipped to meet the challenge of humanity. The same multiple-optioned format applied to the Leadership Insight sessions which highlighted the topic: “How have leaders stood up and led change across boundaries?” 

All participants re-convened into one major plenary for the closing keynote session entitled: “How are we going to stand up and change the world” by Mr. Syed Saddiq bin Syed Abdul Rahman, a Malaysian politician, activist, and youngest former Minister of Youth and Sports. In the closing session, Mr. Syed spoke about his journey of being the youngest Minister pursuing legislation to benefit the youth and emphasized the youth’s overbearing need to be politically aware, actively contribute to the development of one’s country, and inspire change.

To end the forum, the delegates were also given the opportunity to meet and network with fellow international delegates from across the world. According to the ADDU delegates, the global forum was a dynamic and rare space for discourse which inspired a deep discernment in one’s approach in leadership. It shed light on the proactive and zealous kind of leadership the world of the new normal now needs from young people in order to thrive in a time of uncertainty. 

Global Leadership Forum – Asia Pacific is hosted by Common Purpose, a non-profit organization that runs global leadership programs for students and young leaders from all over the world. Common Purpose has organized multiple Global Leadership Forums for students from universities across Australia and the UK, and this is the first time that they organized this event for students in the Asia Pacific as a widely accessible online event.

[Photo credit: SAMAHAN, AIM Office]

Visit of His Excellency Peter Kell, Ambassador of New Zealand to the Philippines (January 2020)

The new Ambassador of New Zealand to the Philippines, His Excellency Peter Kell, visited Ateneo de Davao to promote opportunities for various New Zealand scholarship programs. The discussion was also an opportunity for the embassy to engage the University and its students in the hopes of enticing more scholars from Davao to participate in New Zealand scholarships and for ADDU students to be among the next cohort of scholars departing this 2020 as a result of Ambassador Kell’s visit.

Free Concert by the Hungarian Embassy featuring tàrogató musician, Mr. József Terék (January 2020)

The Embassy of Hungary, in collaboration with the Ateneo Internationalization for Mindanao, and with the support of the ADDU Junior High School, hosted a free concert in at the JHS Amphitheater last 23 January 2020, featuring tárogató (turkish pipe) musician, Mr. József Terék.

World-renowned musician, Mr. Terék is on a musical tour in celebration of this year’s Day of Hungarian Culture. He has performed in various locations in the Philippines: twice in Manila, and once in Cebu. And so in partnership with ADDU, he was able to have his first concert in Mindanao.

The concert gave a performance to an audience of junior high school students who benefited from the cultural and musical instruction aspect of the concert for their MAPEH (Music, Arts, PE, and Health) class. Mr. Terék highlighted the importance of music as a universal language that could serve as a very powerful bridge among peoples of different cultural backgrounds. He expressed his desire for young Mindanawons to champion their own musical heritage, as he has done with the tárogató, especially since Mindanao has a rich foundation for indigenous music and rare instruments.

The Inauguration of the Confucius Institute in Partnership with Huaqiao University (December 2019)

Last 19 December 2019, the Ateneo de Davao University, joined by representatives of Huaqiao University of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), inaugurated the Confucius Institute on the second floor of the Finster Hall, Jacinto campus. This institute is the first Confucius Institute in Mindanao, and outside Luzon. In partnership with Huaqiao, the Matteo Ricci Mandarin Program in AdDU led the inauguration of the Confucius Institute, which has been long in the making.

This inauguration came a year after Ateneo de Davao University President, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J., signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and the memorandum of agreement (MoA) with Huaqiao University President Prof. Xu Xipeng last November 2018. Titled “Jointly Establishing Confucius Institute Between Huaqiao University, China, Ateneo de Davao University, Philippines,” the agreement signed by the two presidents formally laid the groundwork to establish the Institute in Davao City. Further, the agreement aimed “to enhance Sino-Philippine friendship, cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries, meet the needs of the local communities to learn Chinese language and culture in the Philippines and promote Chinese teaching.” The institute itself will “actively promote the learning of Mandarin and Chinese history and culture in Mindanao,” and will “promote cultural exchanges and tours between China and the Philippines.”

Part of this is reminding the people of Davao City of their rich historical connections with China, of helping them renew their understanding and appreciation of the cultural heritage of China in the Philippines, and for some, their own familial roots in China.

American Corner Davao’s NASA Space Apps Challenge of 2019 (October 2019)

The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines hosted its second National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Apps Challenge last October 2019. The Embassy brought the event to Davao in collaboration with American Corner Davao at the Ateneo de Davao University.

Already in its 8th year, the Space Apps Challenge is a NASA-led international hackathon taking place simultaneously in different cities around the world, aiming to address pressing challenges on Earth and in space. During the Challenge, individuals and communities from different backgrounds gather together to share their talents and skills while using NASA’s free and open data to create solutions to real-world problems. This year’s challenge categories include protecting Earth’s oceans, studying our moon, exploring planets near and far, analyzing stars and beyond, and understanding our world and planet.

The hackathon has two other legs in the Philippines besides Davao. One in Iloilo and another in Manila through De La Salle University. Each city is expected to announce two local team winners at the end of the event who will advance to the global judging round managed by NASA.

Visit of His Excellency Gerardo Lozano Arredondo, Ambassador of Mexico to the Philippines (September 2019)

The Mexican Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Gerardo Lozano Arredondo, visited ADDU for a forum with the International Studies Department last September 2019. The ambassador addressed at least a hundred student participants at the Miguel Pro Learning Commons. Ambassador Arredondo opened by giving the student audience an overview of the culture, traditions, and the contemporary society of Mexico; he highlighted cultural and traditional elements unique to Mexico, from to its cuisine and its art, as well as elements shared by both Mexico and the Philippines, including the devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

When the floor was also opened for questions, a student inquired after the Mexico’s strategy in tackling the problem of illegal drugs. Arredondo expressed that the trade of illegal drugs has very negative impacts not just to people and the population, but also in the economy. He said: “The strategy can depend on the reality of the country itself and the characteristics of the country. In Mexico, we consider the drug problem as a global problem, which cannot be solved without international collaboration.”

In the context of economics, and economic possibilities, Fr. Tabora also asked, “How is Mexico dealing with China? Are you open to a stronger relationship with China? Or do you feel threatened by China? Both in terms of manufacturing and the economy, but also as a security measure?” The ambassador answered, saying, “Mexico has been open to the Chinese economy… We need to learn much more about Chinese culture.” He also added, “Though we are convinced of the importance of the Chinese market, we approach very slowly.”

Visit of Her Excellency Madam Halimah Yacob, President of Singapore (September 2019)

The Ateneo de Davao University, through various programs including that of Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia, Madaris Volunteer Program, and the Salaam Movement, is committed to peace in the national and in the ASEAN region. The University’s involvement in inter-religious dialogue, peacebuilding, and countering violent extremism has brought its advocacies and activities to the grassroots level, engaging the groups most vulnerable to radicalization and violent extremism such as the youth, poor, and marginalized sectors of society.

The government of Singapore has similar considerations to those of ADDU in light of the newly formed Bangsamoro. With the election of its first female Muslim President, Halimah Yacob, the need to foster good relations between the two ASEAN countries is more crucial than ever. Hence, a warm welcome was given to Singaporean President Madam Yacob during her visit, enabling the ADDU community to engage her in a pakighinabi on the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, the role of Mindanao youth leaders in interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and other elements that strengthen Philippines – Singapore relations.

Madam Yacob was able to interact with youth groups from MSAs (Muslim Student Associations), community and Ateneo student leaders, as it was in the interest of the government of Singapore to focus on these aspects of youth participation and intercultural relations.

Study Visit of the United Board of Christian Higher Education in Asia (June 2019)

Last June 2019, the members of the Board of Trustees of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia—the organizational head to a network of Christian institutions, colleges, and universities committed to fostering quality higher education in Asia—had their Mindanao study visit and annual in-person meeting with their partner Philippine institutions.

In this study visit, they desired to further their understanding of the issues affecting higher education in Mindanao by way of contextualizing capacities of ADDU for peacebuilding and interreligious dialogue. ADDU, therefore, hosted a Pakighinabi on the Context of Higher Education in Mindanao at the Calungsod-San Vitores Jesuit-Lay Collaboration Center, 11/F Community Center of the First Companions, with Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, ADDU President, as the lead discussant.

The United Board trustees also had conversations with AVP Dr. Gina L. Montalan on how ADDU promotes Whole Person Education, and with Ms. Lilibeth Leh-Arcena on the University’s Service-Learning Program. Their study visit also gave them an opportunity to meet members of a community in Gawad Kalinga Medsa, Tibungco, with a couple of ADDU students and graduates. This engagement enabled the guests to better understand Mindanao and ADDU’s role in forming young leaders in service of the region.