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Establishment of the Philippines Branch

On Saturday December 20, 2014, a little way from the center of the Philippine capital of Manila, in the Santan Room of the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel, the inaugural ceremony of Nagoya University Alumni Association (NUAL)’s 14th overseas branch, the Philippines Branch, took place. It has recently been discovered that there were 110 past students of Nagoya University(NU) in the Philippines, and 22 Filipino students currently studying there.

9 guests represented the Nagoya University, including President Hamaguchi, Emeritus Professor Tetsuo Saito (Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, former Dean of School of Agricultural Sciences), Emeritus Professor Katsuki Ito (Graduate School of Medicine, University Executive Adviser), and Professor Akira Yamauchi (Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences). Meanwhile, President Shoichiro Toyoda and his wife, Tomio Nakano (Chief of Liaison Committee ), and myself, Chief Secretary Itoh attended from NUAL. Local guests included not only past Filipino exchange students, but also Japanese NUAL members who were residing in the Philippines, and 3 guests from the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines. In total, 72 guests attended the celebration, gathered around 7 tables.

In Manila, the dry season was just beginning, with the temperature in the sun being much hotter than that of Nagoya, but the nights were cool enough to sleep without air conditioning. Although it rained in the evening (a squall), this was over within about 30 minutes. Worried that the horrendous traffic in Manila would delay the gathering, President Toyoda and his wife arrived at the hotel more than 2 hours before the ceremony. However, with attendance looking good, the event started right on time at 11 o’clock.

Dr. Cynthia P. Saloma (a female graduate of the Department of Physics in 1993) and Isamu Suzuki (1985 Department of Economics graduate and head of Taisei Philippine Construction Incorporated) both kindly agreed to act as master of ceremonies.

The inaugural ceremony lasted an hour and a half and was carried out in a much more formal style than that of previous overseas branches. First, all guests stood and sang the Philippine National Anthem, followed by Dr. Pag-asa Gaspillo (PhD graduate of 1995 in Engineering and Vice President of La Salle University) doing the honors of officially opening the branch. He welcomed the representatives of Nagoya University and explained the significance of the new branch. He also thanked the JDS (Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship) and expressed his hope for the continued promotion of friendship between the Philippines and Japan.

The Branch Head, Dr. Cristino Collado (PhD graduate of 1982) accepted the branch recognition certificate and commemorative plate with an image of Mt. Fuji (and inscription from the Association on the back) from President of NUAL Toyoda on behalf of the branch. The Philippines Branch flag, which NUAL had designed and brought from Japan) was then presented by President of NU Hamaguchi.

President of NUAL Toyoda gave the inaugural address, speaking about how NUAL was founded to be the crucial organization linking Nagoya University to the wider society, and his wish that the Philippines Branch, as the 14th overseas branch of NUAL, would contribute to the further internationalization of Nagoya University. President of NU Hamaguchi’s address was next. After touching on the Nobel Prize win of Professors Akasaki and Amano, he asked for the cooperation of the branch in strengthening ties between the University and the Asian region, something that is already being planned through the establishment of the Asia Satellite Campus Institute. He also mentioned that this visit to the Philippines had made him regret that he had not visited the country sooner.

Next, the 8 branch officers took to the stage, and each of their roles was introduced before they raised their right hands and took an oath to serve the branch. Then, the new branch presented Mrs. Toyoda with a bouquet, and President of NUAL Toyoda and President of NU Hamaguchi with commemorative gifts.

The newly created Meidai Newsletter of the Philippines Branch (MEIDAI NETWORK), was introduced using a slideshow. The front cover features a photograph of Presidents Toyoda and Hamaguchi.

Following this, Branch Presedent Collado gave an extremely kind address. He first expressed his gratitude to the representatives of Nagoya University and NUAL who had contributed to the founding of the Branch, thanking each of them by name. He was particularly grateful to former Dean Saito of the School of Agricultural Sciences, who had also been his teacher. Dr. Collado expressed his wish that the new branch contribute to the internationalization of Nagoya University and deepen the University’s connections. Dr. Collado is also former Undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture in the Philippines, and his speech was very moving.

Finally, the first ever Filipino student to study at Nagoya University, Dr. Joseph Masangkay (PhD graduate of 1983 in Agriculture and Emeritus Professor at the University of the Philippines) announced the closure of the ceremony.

Immediately following the ceremony, a table-service luncheon was held at the same venue. First, Branch Head Collado gave the red wine toast. At the end of the luncheon, a group photo was taken of all of the guests.

After the proceedings had finished, several groups were still taking photographs with the new branch flag. The Filipino past students of Nagoya University were very happy to see the new branch being founded, and told us they felt the ceremony had a very homely and warm feel, and was a satisfying experience for all involved.

The establishment of the Philippines Branch was coordinated primarily through NUAL Liaison Committee Chief Nakano. Contact was first made with Dr. Oreta (to become Branch Secretary), who is a graduate of my own Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and who kindly gathered information on Filipino past students of Nagoya University. Most graduates within academia had been found, but Professor Saito also kindly contacted Dr. Collado, who had been his student 30 years earlier, and asked him to get in touch with Dr. Oreta. The two of them determined the nominees for the branch officers and made preparations for the inaugural ceremony. I would like to take this final opportunity to thank all those who were involved in the establishment of the NUAL Philippines Branch. (Yoshito Itoh)

Conferment of the Branch banner

Conferment of the Branch banner

The memorial photo

The memorial photo

Nagoya University Alumni Association Executive Coordinator
Yoshito Itoh

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