College of Liberal Arts and SDRC Co-Host ASEAN Biennial Conference

The Social Development Research Center served as co-host and secretariat for the 6th Southeast Asian Biennial Conference, held in three venues on May 8 and 9, 2014. Under this year’s theme of “Religion, Values, Identity and the ASEAN Integration,” the Conference opened at the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall with welcome remarks from Fr. George McLean, President of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Catholic University of America. He acknowledged that it is from diversity that the ASEAN draws the unity of this region, and that the participants of the Biennial Conference were the “architects of the global world we enter.” CLA Research and Advanced Studies Director (RASD) Dr. Feorillo Demeterio III read the remarks on Fr. McLean’s behalf.

Dr. Warayuth Sriwarakuel, Dean of the School of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Assumption University in Bangkok, delivered the plenary lecture, providing a background of the Conference and citing the teachings of Buddhadasa Bhikku, a Thai monk and philosopher, as a means to arriving at ASEAN’s goal of “one vision, one community, one identity.” The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with speakers Dr. Jove Jim Aguas of the University of Santo Tomas and Dr. Mark Joseph Calano of Ateneo de Manila University. Dr. Aguas spoke on “Culture Values of Identity in the ASEAN Integration”, providing the implications of 2015 integration and its impact on various cultural identities, while Dr. Calano’s presentation on “Religious Pluralism and the Philippine Democratic Polity” cited the need for the institutional separation of church and state, to ensure the moral basis of a liberal democracy in the protection of citizens’ rights.

From DLSU, the group proceeded to the Alfredo M. Velayo Multipurpose Hall at the University of Santo Tomas, where incoming CLA RASD Dr. Leni Garcia spoke on “Humanistic Buddhism and the Filipino Worldview”. The final sessions were held at the Multimedia Room of San Beda College, during which SDRC Director Dr. Melvin Jabar delivered a talk on “Nursing Education in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore: Implications for the ASEAN Regional Integration.” During his presentation, Dr. Jabar highlighted the need for Filipino nurses to study any ASEAN languages to make themselves competitive in the market. He also underscored that the possibility of mobility of human health resources may be felt in relatively affluent ASEAN countries like Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established in 1967, and eventually grew to have ten member states, namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. In 2000, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan was formulated for 2002-2008, and a second Work Plan was formulated for 2009-2015, all with the intention of achieving an ASEAN Community. The second Work Plan embodies three blueprints in the areas of economic integration, political security integration, and socio-cultural integration. With 2015 just on the horizon, the 6th Southeast Asian Biannual Conference thus problematized the impact of the ASEAN Integration on religions, values and identities of the people in the ten member states.
The 6th Southeast Asian Biennial Conference is a component of the 2014 Islamic Conferences and is sponsored by the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.    


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