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PIA Press Release

SLU, BSU host international gab on higher education cooperation and development

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (6 February) -- The Saint Louis University (SLU) and the Benguet State University (BSU), through the Vlaamse Interuniversitaere Raad University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS), conducted an International Conference on Best Practices in University Development through International Cooperation held at the Hotel Elizabeth, from February 3 to 4.

About 204 participants from different universities and higher education institutions in the country, as well as from European Union and Asian countries attended said conference.

SLU President Rev. Fr. Jessie Hechanova CICM, who welcomed all the participants, said the conference was organized to cap the 10 years of fruitful partnership between SLU and BSU under the VLIR- Philippine-International University Cooperation (PIUC) program.

The VLIR-UOS is a consultation body composed of six Belgian universities and various governments responsible for higher education and research policy, and has been involve in a PIUC programs in the past 10 years.

Hechanova also stressed that the conference aims to share their experiences in developing higher education through university cooperation, to set models and case studies to international universities and to share the opportunities and challenges in university development cooperation, with other Asian and European Union countries.

According to Hechanova, the SLU-BSU collaboration was the only one of its kind among all the Flemish IUC programs because it involved two universities in a single partnership. Despite differences in structure and development objectives, SLU and BSU successfully worked together in various projects covering institutional management, information-communication-technology, library services, socio-economics, health and environment.

Commission on Higher Education Chairman Emmanuel Angeles, in his message read by CHED Regional Director Freddie Bernal congratulated SLU and BSU for their fruitful partnership, under the VLIR-PIUC program and for successfully organizing the said conference. This he said was very timely and relevant due to the effect and influence of globalization, regionalization and internationalization of goods and services.

Angeles also stressed that aside from actual experiences and insights that the participants learn from the conference, it would also open the opportunity for new academic and institutional partnership to the different higher education institutions.

Angeles also urged the participating higher education institutions to extend each other's capability through their instructional, research and extension services functions - in solving the global challenges we are facing, such as food security, climate change, water management, inter-cultural dialogues, renewable energy and public health, among others.

For his part, Belgian Ambassador to the Philippines Christian Meerschman lauded the 10 years of fruitful partnership between SLU and BSU under the VLIR-PIUC program, as it does not only combine two universities in a single partnership, it also crosses the bridge between a private religious institution and a state university.

"Our global world of today, divided as it is with a multitude of conflicts, is in dire need of successful respectful fusion programs like yours," Meerschman said.

Alistair Macdonald, the head of the European Commission delegation to the Philippines, and Prof. Dr. Supachai Yavaprabhas, the director of the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization, Regional Center for Higher Education, served as keynote speakers during the said event. (PIA) [top]

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