• Posted on: 28 April 2022

UPPI sends delegates to Belgium for 3rd Erasmus+ Exchange

As the European Union (EU) eases COVID-19 restrictions, the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) sends four delegates to the Department of Geography, University of Namur (UNamur) in Belgium, as part of the ongoing collaboration between the two institutions under the EU Erasmus+ Mobility Program.

From L to R: Ms. Musni, Mr. Afable, Dr. Henry, and Ms. Siwa at the University of Namur.

Following a competitive selection process, MA Demography students Denise Hyacinth Joy Musni and Jane Alexandra Siwa came to Namur in January 2022 for a six-month-long fellowship. On top of attending classes on environmental geography and basic French, Ms. Musni and Ms. Siwa are currently writing separate theses concerning fertility in the Philippines, under the supervision of their respective advisers Dr. Maria Paz N. Marquez and Dr. Nimfa B. Ogena. Ms. Musni is doing her thesis on the discontinuity between antenatal care service utilization and facility-based delivery among Filipino mothers. On the other hand, Ms. Siwa is analyzing the effects of teenage motherhood and education on employment outcomes. While staying in Belgium, both students are also under the guidance of Dr. Sabine Henry of UNamur.

For the first time, a member of the UPPI research staff has been represented in the program. From March 7 to April 1, 2022 research associate Sanny Boy Afable participated in a month-long research traineeship at the Department of Geography. Mr. Afable met with Dr. Henry, Dr. Florence de Longueville, Dr. Sebastien Dujardin, all from UNamur, and Dr. Francois Mialhe of the University of Lyon to present key findings from the 2018 National Migration Survey. On the other hand, the European scholars shared their research works concerning the Philippines, particularly in Bohol, a province known for its culture of migration.

Meanwhile, Dr. Elma Laguna left on April 19, 2022 for several academic engagements in Belgium. Dr. Henry invited Dr. Laguna to give constructive feedback on the former’s class project. Dr. Laguna will also be holding a seminar on April 28, 2022 at the Catholic University of Louvain Center for Demographic Research, where she will discuss her research on the intersection of ageing and migration.

Aside from fulfilling institutional commitments, the exchange program has been an avenue for the Erasmus+ grantees to link up with other international students and researchers. In Paris, France, Ms. Musni, Ms. Siwa, and Mr. Afable also had the chance to meet Ms. Christian Joy P. Cruz, a UPPI researcher who is taking her Ph.D. at the Hongkong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Ms. Cruz is a recipient of the HKUST Overseas Research Award and is currently a visiting Ph.D. researcher at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in the Netherlands.

This is the third time that the UNamur has hosted the UPPI. The first such partnership was in 2016, which saw the exchange of two students from UPPI and one Ph.D. student from UNamur, as well as the conduct of lectures by UPPI Director Dr. Grace Cruz at UNamur and Dr. Henry at the UPPI. In 2018, two students were once again sent to Namur, while Dr. Maria Midea Kabamalan represented the UPPI faculty.

The Erasmus+ Mobility Program is a grant that aims, among others, to increase the competencies and cultural awareness of participants and improve internationalization strategies between the host and sending institutions.

Dr. Laguna speaks before the class of Dr. Henry.

From L to R: Mr. Afable, Ms. Musni, Ms. Cruz, and Ms. Siwa at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.