The Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU)’s Internationalization for Mindanao (AIM) Office participated in the “Beyond Borders: International Days at XU,” hosted by Xavier University (XU) – Ateneo de Cagayan from 2-4 May 2024.

With the theme, “Celebrating Global Connections,” the event coincided with the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of EU-Philippines relations and the 20th Anniversary of Erasmus Mundus. It not only spotlighted XU’s initiatives in internationalization but also facilitated meaningful exchanges among HEIs in Mindanao.

In recognizing XU’s commitment to excellence, Fr. Mars P. Tan, SJ, President of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, expressed that their internationalization efforts are as significant to the mission and contribute to positioning their institution at the forefront of innovation even on a global scale. He mentioned that they will strengthen their internationalization as it supports their strategic plans for their “Campus of the Future.”

Dr. Shiella C. Balbutin, Director of the XU Office of International Cooperation and Networking (OICN), also welcomed the attendees and provided an overview of the event. Now in its third flight or year, the event invited administrators, faculty members, staff, students, as well as international relations officers from across the region, and featured various talks that celebrate global connections and intercultural exchanges.

ADDU was honored to be invited by XU and was able to share its initiatives on “Strategic Internationalization for Local Impacts in Mindanao.” Mr. Vinci R. Bueza, AIM Director, one of the resource speakers at the forum, contributed valuable points to internationalization as an integration and a comprehensive approach that broadens perspectives and prepares for global citizenship. In ADDU, internationalization is not just about integrating global perspectives into curricula and promoting cultural exchange programs but also about engaging with local communities. He emphasized that for universities to reaffirm their role as social projects, their engagement-related activities must extend beyond being a discrete area of focus and become a guiding principle and an essential aspect of their identity.

Mr. Bueza was also joined by a panel of speakers, including Mr. Antonio S. Peralta, Honorary Consul of Finland in Davao City; Mr. Mauricio Rolo from the Advantere School of Management, Spain; Dr. Arlita Amapola B. Minguez, Chief Education Program Supervisor of the Commission on Higher Education – Region X. Additionally, serving as a reactor to provide insights from the perspective of development and education was Ms. Leonila G. Cajarte, Assistant Regional Director of the National Economic and Development Authority – Region X.

Over the course of three days, AIM Program Officer, Ms. Lyd Ejira C. Ducusin, actively participated in other sessions. During the second day, there was an enriching conversation on the “Stories of Global Citizenship: Exchange and International Students’ Perspectives.” XU International students shared their experiences studying in Mindanao, while exchange students encouraged other students to explore mobility programs. They highlighted the transformative impact on their personal, academic, and professional endeavors, especially with the programs they joined, such as the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) SEA-Teacher Project and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP) Service Learning Program.

Another enriching session was the “Erasmus Mundus Information Session” on the last day. The Erasmus+ offers academic mobility and partnership opportunities worldwide. The Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Programme falls under the umbrella of Erasmus+. The information session gathered Erasmus Mundus alumni who shared their experiences, from applying to studying across Europe.

The participation of the Ateneo de Davao AIM Office in the event underlined its shared dedication to resonate with the vision for advancing higher education in the Philippines. The AIM Office also maximized the opportunity to benchmark with the XU OICN and learn from their best practices in internationalization.