Local Knowledge in the Face of the ASEAN Integration 2015

Asian University Digital Resource Network 2nd National Convention

Good morning everyone! I am Br. Mawel Pajarillo, President and Chancellor of the University of St. La Salle, and in behalf of our academic community here at La Salle Bacolod, I welcome one and all to the city and to the heart of our educational institution! Malipayon nga pag-abot sa tanan!

I was delighted to learn that La Salle Bacolod is hosting the 2nd National Convention of this network. It shows me, as the incoming school President of this institution that La Salle Bacolod considers accompanying young people towards an optimum quality of life, and towards total wholeness and integration as persons, as extremely important, and that working with others, or more specifically, networking, is to this institution, equally important.

One advantage that we members of international religious congregations have is that we naturally network. We have to, in view of our mission of education. Thus, our educational corporation, De La Salle Philippines, connects 17 La Salle schools - 5 of them universities, and 7 of them with tertiary education units, and 45 supervised schools in this country. In turn, we are connected to schools and Brothers in 79 countries around the world, and in Asia, we are bonded with educational institutions in Pakistan in the West to Indonesia in the East, from Japan in the North to India and Sri Lanka to the South and all of Asia in between. The senior high school program being launched in our country is a case in point: La Salle benchmarked with our European and Commonwealth counterparts, as well as with the Asian countries who were former European colonies.

At the same time, respect for various cultures, and the cultural-intellectual-spiritual genius of various peoples is built into our educational and missionary DNA. In fact, probably our greatest strength as an educational, missionary congregation is in working with local knowledge, especially after the phenomenal post-colonial growth in global historical consciousness, and in the awareness and respect of the power of cultural resilience and resistance to all forms of domination.

Going back to the young people who are at the core of our educational service. The AUDRN members, I understand, do this educational service for the youth by supporting their mentors and guides, the so-called academic professionals, in information exchange and local knowledge management. One text I read says that the members aim to carry this out by using appropriate digital tools and applications toward creating sustainable communities in Asia.

Further, one of the key goals of AUDRN is "to advance local knowledge as legitimate content of academic endeavors and recognize local communities as rich sources of this knowledge."

With that vision and the goals of AUDRN in mind, this meeting looks very promising and exciting indeed, since it will look at ways and means to push the agenda farther down the road.

For Filipinos in particular, it bears watching, because as a Myanmar brother once told me (Myanmar shares contiguous borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Nepal and Thailand), the great fortune and misfortune of the Philippines is that we are islands....Because we are isolated and insulated, we have not had devastating wars and Asian colonial masters for centuries, but we also have not felt deeply the great historical, cultural, and intellectual tsunamis that cut across the plains, rivers and mountains of the Asian mainland and forever shaped our various neighbors as peoples. That is why, he said, we have no Shwe Dagon, Ayutthaya, Angkor Wat or Borobodur. No Balinese or Minangkabau architecture, no lasting Hindu or Buddhist or Confucian philosophical thought.

The move towards full ASEAN integration is going to change all that, and it will be irreversible. And the internet superhighways will be its choice modality. We will have morphing right before our eyes.

And that 21st century world will be quite different from ours. An you, University advocates of sharing local knowledge through digital resources, will walk them through their first steps into that world. I know how challenging, but also how exciting and spiritual the road ahead of you can be, and should be. And that journey goes further in the next three days, here in Bacolod. Good luck to us all then!

Sa liwat, malipayon nga pag-abot kag kabay pa nga madamo gid kamo matun-an sa isa kag isa, kag maka tyansa nga makabisita sa lain lain nga lugar diri sa Bacolod! Maayong adlaw sa tanan. Madamo gid nga salamat!