Univ. of London opens PH Studies forum after £75k grant from DFA
LONDON – The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London received a £75,000 grant from the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs to support the advancement of Philippine Studies at the institution.
During a formal ceremony in London, Philippine Ambassador to the UK, Antonio Lagdameo, and Senator Loren Legarda signed the Gift Agreement to support Philippine studies programs after meeting with SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos.
The signing ceremony was also attended by Dr. Cristina Juan (SOAS), Dr. Ben Murtagh (SOAS), Ruth O’Hanlon (SOAS), Lauren Welch (SOAS), Consul General Senen Mangalile, Consul Rommel Romato and Kristine Mangunay-Infante (Office of Sen. Legarda).
Senator Loren Legarda is chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, which is the main sponsor of the project.
Under the gift agreement, the Philippine government through Sen. Legarda, donated the sum of ₱5,000,000 to support academic activities and projects to advance Philippine studies at SOAS from 2017 to 2020.
Following the signing ceremony, Ambassador Lagdameo praised the support of Sen. Legarda for the project, which was initiated under the former ambassador, now DFA Undersecretary Enrique Manalo.
The ambassador also thanked SOAS officials for their deep interest in Philippine studies. He said: “We welcome this academic collaboration between the Philippine Embassy and SOAS, a first of its kind in the UK. We very much look forward to expanding this meaningful partnership between the Philippines and SOAS.”
Dr. Ben Murtagh, Head of the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics at SOAS, said: “We are really excited by the boost to our provision of teaching on the Philippines that this gift will provide. The grant will also enable us to support a number of external facing events on the Philippines so there will be benefit for students, staff and the wider SOAS community.”
A global hub for Philippine Studies
The Philippine Studies at SOAS (PSS) project has since been digitally published and will function as “a forum for Philippine–related teaching, research and cultural production in the UK and Europe.”
Although the project is a work-in-progress, it already has several exciting academic activities in the works for 2018, starting with the upcoming Annual Phillippine Studies Conference with a focus on the Cordillera taking place in July.
The PSS committee will organize a range of activities that include film screenings, public lectures, workshops, research and travel grants, conferences, language curriculum programs, the digitization of SOAS Philippine materials (Digital Filipiniana), and administrative work within the university.
The committee will further develop and coordinate academic research and teaching on the Philippines, and aims to become “a public resource for creating relationships with partner institutions in the Philippines, the rest of South East Asia and beyond.”
The forum also aims to become “an aggregating hub for Philippine-related information on current academic and cultural events, student resources for grants and scholarships, and a networking database for Filipinistas in the UK and Europe.”
Founded in 1916, SOAS is Europe’s leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. More than 350 undergraduate degree combinations alone are available in social sciences, arts, humanities and languages, all with a distinctive regional focus and global relevance.
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