The University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association, Inc. (USTAAI), in collaboration with the UST Center for Continuing Professional Education and Development (CCPED), marked the fifth anniversary of its Academe, Alumni, Industry, and Government (AAIG) strategic alliances by hosting the AAIG International Multi-Sectoral Summit on September 29 & 30, 2023. The event took place at the Dr. George S.K. Ty Function Hall, located within the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building.
Themed “AAIG NEXUS: New Visions, New Frontiers, New Strategies and Practices,” the two-day summit aimed to underscore the intrinsic value and significance of collaborative efforts among the academe, alumni, industry, and government for inclusive growth and sustainable success. The emphasis was on integrating technology-driven approaches with humanistic strategies in community development and showcasing best practices for the practical implementation of collaborative engagement through a humanizing approach to education.
For Day 1, distinguished speakers, well-versed in education, leadership, public relations, and business, led talks and discussions throughout the event. The inaugural day commenced with a warm welcome from USTAAI President Atty. Dwight M. Ramos, who stressed the importance of technology-driven approaches coupled with humanistic strategies in community development. Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., the University Rector, further emphasized the significance of sharing successful practices for collaborative engagement through humanizing education.
AAIG Lead Convenor Prof. Henry S. Tenedero provided insights into AAIG’s five-year journey, focusing on bridging the gap between the academe and industry to facilitate a seamless transition for new graduates into the workforce. Dr. Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela, ASEAN Adviser on the Future of Education, delivered the Keynote Address, urging delegates to “reimagine the education space” and seek innovative solutions to address the pressing challenges impacting learning and teaching.
The first day’s plenary sessions featured Dr. Rosalina Ora-A-Fuentes, Former President of Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Development Institute (SAIDI), discussing “Understanding the Current Visions and Language of Leadership.” She highlighted the need for adapting to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, embracing mindset reframing, continuous innovation, and collaboration beyond borders. The second plenary session, led by Rev. Fr. Jesus M. Miranda, O.P., delved into “Augmenting Humanity Through Artificial Intelligence,” challenging the audience to prioritize humanity over productivity and navigate the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence.
Additional speakers included Dr. Margarita C. Ballesteros, Director of External Partnership Service at the Department of Education (DepEd); Engr. Armand Cacacho, Adjunct Professor at the Asian Institute of Management and mentor at Stanford University; Prof. Donn Emmanuel Gonda, Lecturer at the Hong Kong University; and Dr. Donald Patrick Lim, Chief Operating Officer of DITO Communications. The first day of the symposium concluded with a talk from Ms. Maria Luz “Yayu” Javier, Vice Chair of the United Nations Global Compact Network Philippines, focusing on “Embracing New Strategies and Practices on Leadership, Organization, and Commitment from the UN Global Compact Perspectives.”
The second day of the summit, opened with a message by Prof. Michael Anthony Vasco, Ph.D. from the UST Graduate School, where he emphasized the importance of socio-economic demographics in fostering partnerships across four sectors. The goal, he stressed, is to pave the way for inclusive growth and success for all.
The summit’s keynote address was delivered by Mr. Norman Agatep, the President and CEO of Grupo Agatep, a globally recognized entity in public relations, communications, and advertising. Agatep’s insightful discussion centered on “Effectively Communicating Your Messages Beyond the Syntax of Language.” He urged the audience to connect effectively by understanding their audiences intimately, unlocking minds, piercing hearts, telling compelling stories, inciting action, fostering conversations, embracing new technology, and keeping messages simple.
Dr. Carl E. Balita, the first plenary speaker, and Board of Director and Overall Chairman of the Franchise Asia Conference, presented on “Education 5.0: Towards Future Ready Graduates.” Balita outlined the transitions from Education 1.0 to 5.0, emphasizing shifts from planning to portfolios, theory to practice, and formal education to fast learning.
The second plenary speaker, Dr. Maria Christina G. Aquino, shared her insights on “Good, Better, and Best in Tourism and Hospitality.” She painted a vivid picture of the current state of tourism and hospitality in the country, advocating for quality Philippine tourism rooted in being HOSPITABLE – Helpful, Open-minded, Systematic, Purposeful, Innovative, Technologically proficient, ASEAN aware, Bold, Love the country, and Engage the whole society. Aquino is the TIBFI IP Chairperson and past president of Asia-Pacific Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (APacCHRIE) and Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines (COHREP).
Interactive breakout sessions provided participants with the opportunity to engage with each other. Session facilitators included Prof. Cheryl Peralta R. Peralta, DrPh, Atty. Ma. Elena Enriquez, Mr. Arnel Ocampo, Engr. Emmanuel R. Estrada, and Assoc. Prof. Evangeline E. Timbang, Ph.D.
Present during this two-day event were the AAIG co-conveners, the USTAAI Vice President for Academics Ms. Inocencia Ida S. Tionko, CCPED Director and UST CRS Alumni Association, Inc., President Assoc. Prof. Jocelyn F. Agcaoili, and USTAAI Chairman of the Board Dr. Evelyn A Songco, an AAIG Core Officer.
Sponsored by Rex Education, Globe Telecom, and UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Atty. Nilo T. Divina, the success of the 2023 AAIG Summit was evident. Looking ahead, the USTAAI and CCPED are committed to sustaining the AAIG journey, kicking off with the launch of the AAIG Report “Five Years and Beyond!” in the first quarter of 2024. Future initiatives include the AAIG Caravan for the Health Sector and the next AAIG Summit in 2025.