30 July 2022

PH Consulate, La Trobe Uni ink pact
to support Philippine Studies Program

The Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne and La Trobe University have signed an agreement to support the activities of the Philippine Studies Program at the University and increase awareness of it in Australia.

Under the agreement (Deed of Gift), the Philippine government, through the Philippine Consulate, will provide a funding of P5 million, or its AUD equivalent, particularly for student, academic and public engagement (40 percent), teaching of Philippine Studies (30 percent), research and publication (15 percent), enhancement of La Trobe’s Filipiniana collection (10 percent), and awards (5 percent).

The grant of the gift is an initiative of the Philippine Congress, particularly Sen. Loren Legarda, an ardent supporter and advocate of Philippine cultural diplomacy and the setting up of Philippine Studies centers in universities worldwide.

The agreement was signed during a simple ceremony held last July 30 at the Consulate, which was followed by a Students Forum/Networking participated in by around 70 Filipino students, academics, government representatives and select leaders of the Filipino Community in Victoria.

Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo signed on behalf of the Philippine Government, while Dr. Raul Sanchez Urribarri, senior lecturer at the Department of Social Inquiry at La Trobe, signed for the University.

Philippine Ambassador to Australia Maria Hellen De La Vega, who flew in from Canberra to witness the event, gave brief remarks lauding the project. “Our modest contribution to La Trobe University is a demonstration of the Philippines’ commitment to growing people-to-people linkages and building bridges between countries,” she said.

Ambassador De La Vega also cited the prior engagements of La Trobe with Philippine educational institutions, like the Ateneo de Manila University. “This is a recognition of the important work that La Trobe University has done and will continue to accomplish to raise awareness about the Philippines here in Australia and to support the work of Philippine and Australia specialists.”

In his response, Dr. Urribarri said he excitedly looks forward to the opportunity and the new resources to expand Philippine studies in Australia with the help of all stakeholders.

“At La Trobe, we are thrilled about this new initiative. This is a great, exciting opportunity to expand Philippines Studies in Australia, building on the strength and enthusiasm of our students, academic staff and partners, both in the Philippines and Australia,” he said.

At the Students Forum, a panel of expert speakers shared relevant advice and information to the student participants. Kim Cleary, senior manager for Market Development and Education Global Network for Global Victoria, led the panel of speakers and discussed the topic “Education Victoria in the Global Stage.”

Dr. Marianne Sison, honorary university fellow at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, spoke on “Connecting and Collaborating with Communities,” while Dr. Alfred Presbitero, director for the international MBA program at Deakin University, tackled “Employability and Business Prospects in Victoria. Dr. Roberto Guevara, also of RMIT, moderated the interactive open forum.

The Forum also featured testimonials and sharing of experiences by student leaders and young professionals on transitioning to Australia and their new academic and working environments, among them Joy Atacador, Partner at Dentons Australia and former IBM Scholar, Monash University; Carlos Jerico Santos, President of Filipinos at Monash; Mhee-Ann Chan, Mother, Nurse and Student; and Ivan Lee of Filipino Australian Student Council of Victoria.

The Consulate also introduced to the audience a number of outstanding Filipino community leaders who recently received awards from the Victoria Multicultural Commission (VMC).

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pr 27 2022 01DEED OF GIFT. Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Maria Hellen De La Vega, center; Dr. Raul Sanchez Urribarri, left, senior lecturer at La Trobe University; and Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo, right, present the newly signed Deed of Gift signed between the La Trobe and the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne, which formalizes the turnover of the donation from the Philippine Government of P5 million in support of the Philippine Studies Program at the University. The signing ceremony took place last July 30 at the Consulate’s offices in Melbourne (photo courtesy of Mr. Angelito Valdez).

pr 27 2022 02STUDENTS FORUM AND NETWORKING. A panel of speakers share their thoughts and advice to students at the Students Forum and Networking organized by the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne last July 30. The speakers, seated in front, left to right, were Kim Cleary of Global Victoria; Dr. Marianne Sison of RMIT University; and Dr. Alfred Presbitero of Deakin University. In far right is Dr. Roberto Guevara, also of RMIT, who acted as moderator (photo courtesy of Mr. Angelito Valdez).

pr 27 2022 03GUEST OF HONOR WITH FILIPINO AWARDEES. Ambassador Maria Hellen De La Vega (center) and Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo (extreme left) are shown with Filipino community leaders who recently received awards for their outstanding community work. They are, from left, Marisa Vedar, May Red Zafra, Sherly Hart, Ruel De Leon, and Melvin Mata, who were conferred the Honor Roll Award by the Victoria Multicultural Commission (VMC). The VMC awardees, along with Walter Villagonzalo (not in photo), winner of the 2021 Presidential Award for Overseas Filipinos (Pamana ng Pilipino category), were recognized during the Students Forum held on July 30 at the Philippine Consulate in Melbourne (photo courtesy of Mr. Angelito Valdez).