Iloilo City, August 23, 2018 — More than 70 alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs gathered at Iloilo’s historic Old Provincial Capitol for the Visayas leg of Alumni Reconnects, a nationwide series of reunions marking the 70th anniversary of U.S.-Philippines people-to-people exchanges.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Program, hosted the reunion. He said, “One of the best things that has happened in my life was the opportunity to participate in these exchange programs.”
U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Counselor Philip Roskamp highlighted the contributions that people-to-people exchanges have made to the robust bilateral relationship between the United States and the Philippines. “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,” he noted.
While in Iloilo, Roskamp spoke to students at Central Philippines University as part of a U.S. exchange alumni-led forum on global education and exchange opportunities in the United States. To demonstrate support for the International Year of the Reef 2018 campaign, Roskamp and U.S. exchange alumni also planted coral fragments at the Tun-Lac Marine Protected Area in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. Promoting coral growth and marine conservation has improved fisheries, tourism, and water quality in the area.
The U.S. government sponsored the first 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. 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright program in the Philippines, as well as 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.
The Alumni Reconnects event in Visayas was the third in the series; events are also scheduled in 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/.