Manila Conference Report

Dear East-West Center Alumni:

Many participants have remarked that our recent 2016 EWC/EWCA International Conference in Manila, Philippines was one of the Center’s most informative and enjoyable alumni conferences to date! Close to 300 EWC alumni, friends and colleagues from 22 countries gathered at the historic Manila Hotel for the conference held on January 15-17 (view photo galleries and videos).

The conference program on the theme of “Bridging Diverse Cultures towards an Inclusive Asia Pacific Community”  featured close to 100 presenters involved in substantive panels and expert discussions on a range of key regional topics, as well as a special luncheon honoring EWC/EWCA’s 2016 distinguished alumni and outstanding chapters and volunteers.

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“The East-West Center’s devotion to strengthening the links that bind the two sides of the vast Pacific has enabled thousands of academics, policymakers, analysts, and public servants to share ideas and best practices, to learn more from their counterparts within the region, and to find opportunities to forge and take advantage of synergies towards the benefit of so many,” Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III said in a keynote address to the conference participants.

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“There are many conferences with specific agenda – trade, anti-corruption, technology, and the like,” EWCA Manila Chapter Vice President Regina Ordonez said in summary remarks at the end of the three-day event.  “But this conference is different – a gathering of alumni who can talk about anything and everything under the sun.  And if any of us see a connection, a link to our own work or vision, then we are off to a good start of bonding and friendship. This is unity in diversity!”

Ordonez pointed to what she described as a “dizzying variety of presentation topics, ranging from de-radicalization of terrorists and development challenges in the Pacific to economic cooperation, multicultural education for an ever smaller global village, transnational exchanges in music and the arts, disaster resilience through public-private partnerships, governance challenges, environmental impacts and issues, ethnicity and nationalism, international conflict resolution,  health concerns, and seeking harmony through cultural and religious values.”


In addition to paper presentations and discussion panels, attendees participated in several cultural workshops featuring traditional Philippine dances and musical instruments. Participants also enjoyed a welcoming cultural performance, and put on their own traditional talent show during the closing Aloha Banquet.

20160117_NPPA_VFD_00006300 The conference was hosted by East-West Center, East-West Center Association and the EWCA Philippines Chapter. Click to see a full list of sponsors.

We are already starting to plan for the 2018 conference and expect to announce the location later this year.  Hope to see you there!

With warmest aloha,

Noreen Tanouye
Alumni Coordinator