• Posted on: 18 July 2023

Philippine Studies conference in Belgium highlights academic exchange between UNamur and UPPI scholars

From June 7 to 9, 2023, the University of Namur hosted a Philippine Studies Conference following a grant from the Philippine Government as a way of celebrating and recognizing the long years of research collaboration between Belgian and Filipino scholars. The conference also highlighted the academic and research exchange between University of Namur and UP Population Institute’s faculty, researchers and graduate students.

On the first day, June 7, UNamur Researcher Dr. Sébastien Dujardin and UPPI Graduate Student Anna Vibar shared their paper “Expanding community resilience through social media data analysis: a collaborative research experience between the Philippines and Belgium.” The paper is co-authored with Dr. Elma Laguna of UPPI who was also present in the conference.

The 3-day program was also graced with a video message from Hon. Loren Legarda, Senate President Pro Tempore, Senate of The Republic of the Philippines and H.E Jaime Victor B. Ledda, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines.

The conference also highlighted other research collaborations between researchers in the Philippines and Belgium. In the session chaired by Universite Libre Bruxelles (ULB) Prof. Asunción Fresnoza-Flot, Dr. Maruja Asis of the Scalibrini Migration Center gave a presentation entitled “Philippines-Europe cooperation on migration research: on-the-ground realities and towards better prospects.” Belgian researchers in ULB and UNamur also presented in this session their research studies on the Philippines.

On the second day, a panel discussion entitled, “Snowball effect of a research and development project”, chaired by Dr. Sabine Henry of UNamur took place where UPPI Professors Dr. Jose Andres Ignacio and Dr. Grace Cruz talked about how research projects resulted in continuous and institutional exchanges between students, researchers and faculty of UPPI and UNamur.

The third day of the conference focused on Population studies and featured research done by UPPI faculty. Dr. Grace Cruz presented a paper on ageing entitled “Growing old in the Philippines: Navigating economic and health challenges” and Dr. Maria Midea Kabamalan presented a paper on family formation, “The separation of marriage and childbearing in the Philippines”. In the subsequent session on Environment, Dr. Jose Andres Ignacio, a PhD graduate at the University of Namur, also presented his paper “Exploring Relationships between Social Vulnerability and Typhoon Frequency in Villages of the Philippines”.

UPPI alumni who are now studying in various universities in Europe also participated in the conference. The poster by Denise Musni, Karlene Cabaraban, and Sanny Afable entitled “Examining changing household composition and emerging family forms in the Philippines (1998 to 2017) won the best poster award. The conference ended with a workshop on how to enhance future collaborations between scholars in the Philippines and Belgium.

The full program of the conference can be viewed at the UNamur website.