MISS Convention tackles Multiculturalism on its Third Day
The 9th Mindanao International Studies Society Convention (MISS) was on its third day yesterday, February 19 at the Grand Astoria Hotel with its theme “Understanding Multiculturalism and Engaged Citizenship”.
The morning sessions consisted of five different speakers. The first speaker who gave the keynote was Maria Muriel Remo-Marasigan. She tackled the topic “Building Youth Leadership in a Multicultural Civic Engagement”. After Marasigan’s talk followed the parallel session of four speakers who simultaneously shared their featured topics to the International Studies students from the seven universities of Mindanao.
The speakers who delivered their topics were Randy Magdaluyo, Julius Ceasar Flores, Ma. Rosalie Zerrudo and Sandhya Gupta.
According to Maria Muriel Remo-Marasigan, multiculturalism is an umbrella of P.O.C or all people of colors.
“Just because you are white doesn’t mean that you don’t understand the issues of people or can’t sympathize with it”, Marasigan emphasized.
She added that people can act, react, or prevent issues through art to relay the message. It is a way of bridging the allies.
Marasigan also highlighted leadership- what and who is a leader.
“A leader is something extraordinary”, a student responded.
Part of the session was the sharing of the speaker’s experiences at El Salvador and of her other community involvements. She also gave the students an activity to interact with one another.
Marasigan also encouraged the youths to continue to bring change to the community.
She ended her talk leaving the message:
“It’s really important to take care of one another and take our own responsibilities.”
Randy Magdaluyo tackled the topic “From Impression to Recognition: The Particularities and Commonalities in Cross-Cultural Communication.
Magdaluyo started asking the students on their impressions toward Zamboanga City.
“Zamboanga is a place of Badjao.”
“Latin City…because of the language.”
Most of the students also think that Zamboanga is a violent place but Zamboanga is also a city with friendly people.
Normally, people may feel disoriented because of the unfamiliar way of life that he or she experiences. This is called culture shock based on the talk that Magdaluyo shared.
Magdaluyo added that people could be interpreted in many and different ways. He refers it as cross-cultural communication. Parts of it are different countries, different groups within a country, different companies and any two groups sharing different values.
The speaker also highlighted that verbal communication is one source of misunderstanding. The other is the non-verbal communication which is possible in gestures. An example that Magdaluyo gave was the eye contact in Latin American cultures which is a sign of disrespect while eye contact in Western cultures shows attentiveness.
The challenge that Magdaluyo advised was to try to locate one’s self.
Julius Ceasar Flores talked about “The ASEAN Community in 2015- Diversity or Unity in Cultures?”
The speaker highlighted the unifying elements of ASEAN which consist of its motto, the symbolism of flag, its emblem, the ASEAN day and anthem.
Motto: One Vision, One Identity, One Community
Flag: Symbol of unity and support
Emblem: Represents a stable, peaceful, unified and dynamic ASEAN
ASEAN day: August 8
ASEAN anthem: The ASEAN Way
Flores also emphasized that it is not an easy task to be a member of ASEAN. A consensus is important in the acceptance of a new member.
Another featured topic was tackled by Ma. Rosalie Zerrudo which entitled Gender Studies: Women Archetypes.
Zerrudo talked about the archetypal female figures in women’s spirituality. An interactive activity was prepared by the speaker for the students. The activity was based on what or who is a strong woman for them. The students were given minutes to present the archetype of a strong woman and a song dedicated to that woman.
A group of students mentioned, “The strongest woman for us is she who has the power to make a change.”
The last but not the least speaker in the morning was Ms. Sandhya Gupta. She gave the topic “Faith and Globalization: The Case of India”.
The speaker stressed that India is a rising economic superpower in goods and technology, yet also has diminishing resources due to rapid urbanization and loss of natural resources.
The country has a diverse religion which consists of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jew and Parse. India has a caste and ethnic diversity as well.
“Religious identity is something very personal”, Gupta added.
The afternoon sessions that followed had a theme of Engaged Citizenship. The keynote was given by Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, SJ. Moreno talked about Engaged Citizenship and the Philippine Electoral System. Another speaker was Dr. Steven Rood who tackled “Forging a Sustainable Peace in Mindanao: The Role of a Civil Society”. The last speaker was Mr. Wilfredo Magno Torres III who shared his topic “Letting a Thousand Flowers Bloom: Clan Conflicts and their Management.
The UN Night followed on the evening where the students celebrated their diversity and had a fun evening getting to know one another.