The Fulbright Commission in the Philippines launched its event series, Fulbright Perspectives, on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. This monthly event aims to display the wide range of talent and expertise of Fulbright alumni by conducting social, cultural, and educational programs.
Executive Director Julio S. Amador III explained where the name came from, “When Fulbright scholars are sent to the U.S., we are expected not only to learn but to share our views, our perspectives. How much more when we come back? Should we not share our perspectives? By labeling this event as perspective, we acknowledge that there will always be diversity of views and that we do not have a monopoly of leadership and excellence. But, we believe that our perspective contributes to what Senator Fulbright said about the purpose of the Fulbright Program, that ‘perhaps the greatest power of such intellectual exchange is to convert nations into peoples and to translate ideologies into human aspirations.'”
The inaugural event had the honor of having Philippine renowned artist Toym de Leon Imao as its guest speaker. Titled “Creative Protest: The Artist as Activist,” Mr. Imao discussed how humor, satire, and creative mockery become an essential element in protest culture, especially in an era when social media is weaponized to spread fake news and historical revisionism.
Students and professionals from the fields of art and international relations attended the launch. Former Fulbrighters Ma. Carmen Alcuaz-Reyes (1966, University of Minnesota), Corazon de la Paz Bernardo (1963, Cornell University), and Don Amorsolo (2008, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA) also went to the event. Humphrey alumnus Rommel Miranda (2010, University of Minnesota Law School) was present last Tuesday as well. Other members of the Fulbright Philippines community such as Global UGRAD alumna Mia Villa (2017, Castleton University) and Fulbright U.S. Student researchers Anna Alves (Rutgers University; Ateneo de Manila University), Anna Cabe (Indiana University; Ateneo de Manila University), Zack Frial (Georgetown University; University of the Philippines Diliman), Brooke Tubbs (Alma College; Holy Angel University), and Imee Williams (Washington State University; University of the Philippines Diliman) were also part of the audience.
Mr. Imao delivered an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation about the role of public art and alternative media in nation-building, specifically in upholding a freedom of information and resisting the alteration of historical facts.
“Artists are generally solitary creatures who prefer the comfort of their studios and desks quietly toiling on their works. But once you disturb the peace of their environment – the source of their nourishment; threaten the lives of their loved ones – the source of their inspiration, they will move and make the streets as their canvas. They will sing songs from the mouths of the voiceless, dance with the rage and passion of resistance… scratch words of truth and defiance onto the walls that divide a nation. Once angered, pained, and wounded, they will bleed masterpieces more powerful than the monuments of tyrants! And they will not stop! Until they have painted their final stroke of dissent, hummed the last note of solidarity, choreographed their climactic movement with the people, and have penned the last line of their ode of deliverance and justice.” – Toym de Leon Imao
Details about the next Fulbright Perspectives event will be coming out soon!