La Trobe University and The Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne have signed a Deed of Gift to support the activities of a Philippines Studies Program at the University. A wide range of academic activities aim to increase awareness of Philippine culture to the Australian community and build Philippine-Australian relations.
Dr Raul Sanchez Urribarri, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Social Inquiry and Director of the Philippines Australia Studies Centre, participated in the ceremony on behalf of La Trobe University.
“We are thrilled about this new initiative,” says Dr Sanchez Urribarri. “This is an exciting opportunity to expand Philippines Studies in Australia and build on the strength and enthusiasm of our students, academics and partners in both nations.”
Philippine Ambassador to Australia Maria Hellen De La Vega witnessed the event, commending the program and La Trobe’s continuous efforts to enhance academic collaborations in Australia and the Philippines.
“Our modest contribution to La Trobe University is a demonstration of the Philippines’ commitment to growing people-to-people linages and building bridges between countries,” says Ambassador De La Vega.
The Philippine community is one of the fastest growing migrant populations in Australia – the fifth largest migrant group of residents across the nation. Over 12,000 Filipino students are currently studying in Australia, showing a resurgence of interest in the learning opportunities available at Australian universities.
Philippine Consul General to Melbourne Maria Lourdes Salcedo hopes the program will evolve into institutional partnerships, encouraging Filipino students to study in the Philippines and build deep, long-lasting partnerships with Australia from their home country.
“This would mean lesser costs on the part of students and their families, where students are enticed to take part of this transnational educational partnership between Australia and the Philippines,” says Consul General Salcedo.
The Philippine Studies Program is part of a donation from the Philippine Consulate General in Australia and the Philippine Government to advance Philippine studies at La Trobe University. The program will benefit from the active participation and support of the Philippines Australia Studies Centre and La Trobe Asia.
Photo: Dr Raul Sanchez Urribarri (left), Ambassador Hellen De La Vega (middle), and Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo (right) by Angelito Valdez Jr Photography.