By Roy Mabasa
The Philippine government has provided a P8-million grant to the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London to boost Philippines studies in the United Kingdom.
Ambassador to the United Kingdom Antonio Lagdameo and SOAS Pro-Director Professor Stephen Hopgood led the signing of the “gift” agreement in a recent ceremony held at the newly established Sentro Rizal of the Philippine Embassy in the British capital.
In a statement, the Embassy said the latest grant will augment the P5-million initial funding that was donated to SOAS by Philippine government in October 2017.
“The Philippine Embassy is a committed partner in developing the Philippine studies initiatives in SOAS and in the U.K. We are delighted to help in finding opportunities for mutually beneficial people-to-people exchanges between the Philippines and the United Kingdom,” Lagdameo said.
Financial grants for the SOAS Philippine Studies Project were allocated under the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) budget at the initiative of its proponent, Senator Loren Legarda.
Since its launching, the SOAS Philippine Studies project has successfully organized academic programs including intensive summer course on language learning, modular lectures on Jose Rizal’s novels, conferences on HIV/AIDS awareness, digitization of SOAS Filipiniana collections, and writing workshops.
In July last year, it organized UK’s first academic conference on the Cordillera for its first annual Philippine Studies Conference held in London.
In addition, the project plans to organize a major academic conference on Mindanao and the Bangsamoro in July 2019 by featuring film screenings and launching of Philippine books on Mindanao.
Among those who attended the ceremony were SOAS School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics head Dr. Ben Murtagh, SOAS Philippine Studies Executive Officer Dr. Cristina Juan, Philippine Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul General Senen Mangalile and Second Secretary and Consul Rommel Romato of the Embassy.