Manila, July 5, 2018 — The U.S.-PH exchange alumni network, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, celebrated the 70th anniversary of U.S. government-sponsored exchanges in the Philippines during an Alumni Reconnects reunion and networking reception on June 30 at SMX Mall of Asia. More than 200 U.S. exchange alumni attended the event.
In his remarks, Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski highlighted the contributions that people-to-people exchanges have made to the robust bilateral relationship between the United States and the Philippines. He noted that “as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of exchanges this year, what we are really celebrating are the friendships, professional networks, collaborations, and people-to-people bonds that these exchanges have forged and continue to forge.”
Keynote speaker and International Visitor Leadership Program alumnus Senator Ralph Recto reminded fellow alumni to give back to their communities. Senator Recto said, “You were meant to be bridges between two peoples. But your people expect you to be their bridges to the future, to narrow the gap of inequality, and close the fissures of discontent.”
The U.S. government sponsored the first cohort of Philippine Fulbright scholars to study in the United States in 1948. Since then, more than 9,000 Filipinos and Americans have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchanges. In addition to the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright program in the Philippines, 2018 also marks the 25th anniversary of the Study of the United States Institute program in the Philippines, the 15th anniversary of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Study program and Philippine Youth Leadership Program, the 10th anniversary of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, and the fifth anniversary of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.
Prior to Alumni Reconnects, 32 U.S. exchange alumni associations from across the country led an Exchange Fair, which provided approximately 300 Filipino students and professionals with information about U.S. government exchange programs.
The Alumni Reconnects reunion in Manila was the first in a series of Alumni Reconnects events marking the 70th anniversary of government-funded exchange programs between the United States and the Philippines. Additional events are scheduled in Baguio, Iloilo, Davao, Zamboanga, and Cagayan de Oro.
Information on U.S. Embassy educational and professional exchange opportunities can be found at https://ph.usembassy.gov/education-culture/