Philippines President Aquino Addresses EWC Alumni Conference in Manila

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MANILA (Jan. 15, 2016) -- Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III today addressed about 300 East-West Center alumni and colleagues at the Center’s three-day international alumni conference in Manila, speaking on the conference theme of "Bridging Diverse Cultures towards an Inclusive Asia Pacific Community."

“In bridging the divides between our respective contexts," President Aquino said, "it is my belief that the East-West Center, its fellows, and alumni can play an even greater, more active role by enriching the means by which we communicate, promoting more positive insights about one another, and facilitating a deeper appreciation for both our similarities and diversities.”

(Read the text of President Aquino’s remarks)

Aquino said that many nations share common concerns, “be it the increasing threat of climate change, uncertainties in the global economy, challenges to stability and our sustained development, the threat of extremism, amongst many others. These disruptions, so to speak, often present opportunities for us to better engage one another, highlighting the complementary relationship that may have long existed between our needs and their capacities, and vice versa.”

He cited the U.S.-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement – recently upheld by the Philippines’ Supreme Court­ – as an example of a “relationship born of consensus and a recognition of differences, of shared principles and aspirations, and of a unified vision in building a safer, more productive environment for our peoples.”

Noting that two of his Cabinet members – economic planner Arsenio Balisacan and environmental protection advisor Neric Acosta ­– are East-West Center alumni, Aquino said the Center’s “devotion to strengthening the links that bind the two sides of the vast Pacific has enabled thousands of academics, policymakers, analysts, and public servants to share ideas, best practices, and learn more from their counterparts within the region, and find opportunities to forge and take advantage of synergies towards the benefit of so many.”