Donation Drives Advancement of Philippine Studies at The University of Alberta

Mita de la Fuente - 28 August 2023

A significant step in fostering cultural exchange and academic collaboration occurred on August 25, 2023, when the University of Alberta and the Philippine government joined hands to sign a significant donation agreement.

The agreement, which provides the Department of East Asian Studies with 2 million Philippine pesos (equivalent to $50,000 CDN), signifies a milestone in the progression of Philippine studies, as this event marks the department's expansion beyond an exclusive focus on the societies and cultures of China, Korea and Japan.

Funds from the endowment will be utilized to establish a yearly lecture series led by distinguished speakers. Lectures will focus on history, society, and culture, and will be open to a wide audience including faculty, students and community members interested in learning about the Philippines.

“This generous donation is great news for the University of Alberta,” says Bill Flanagan, President and Vice-Chancellor. “The Philippines is an important partner for our university and our country, so I’m glad we are continuing to strengthen our working relationship. I’m excited for the launch of the new lectureship series, which will help students and faculty learn more about the vibrant history and culture of the Philippines.”

The Honorable Loren Legarda, President pro tempore of the Senate of the Philippines, said the following during a video message that was played during the signing:

“The Philippines and Canada have long been committed to improving our relations. One effective means of strengthening this interconnectedness is by actively promoting academic involvement and collaboration. Understanding culture, history and its people have always been a unifying factor between and among nations,” she said.


Daniel Fried, East Asian Studies Department Chair, also expressed his excitement.

“We are excited to bring a better understanding of this fascinating and pivotal nation to University of Alberta students. We hope in the future to expand our programming about the Philippines, in partnership with Alberta's Filipino communities, and others who understand the importance of that nation and its people to Canada," he said.

Philippine Consul General Zaldy Patron joined President Bill Flanagan at the University of Alberta Telus Centre where they formally signed the agreement. This achievement was a collaborative effort led by Consul General Patron alongside Fried, colleagues from the Faculty of Arts and University of Alberta International.

"The Faculty of Arts is immensely grateful for this partnership with the Philippine Government," says Dean Robert Wood. "This significant contribution to the Department of East Asian Studies not only solidifies the bond between our nations but also amplifies our ability  to explore, study and celebrate Philippine culture."

"I am thankful to the University of Alberta for accepting our proposal to introduce a Philippine Studies Lectureship Program. Having this program in such a prestigious university will increase the Canadian public's awareness of the Philippines and further elevate the stature of the Philippines and the Filipino community," says Patron.