The Cultural Heritage Center Director of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State Mr. Alexei Kral, visited the University of Santo Tomas on December 12, 2019.
Kral was met by university officials, namely, Office for International Relations and Programs Prof. Lilian Sison, Ph.D., UST Museum Director Rev. Fr. Isidro D. Abaño, O.P., UST Graduate School Dean Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D., USTGS Assistant Dean Prof. Camilla Vizconde, Ph.D., Center for Continuing Professional Education Director Assoc. Prof. Jocelyn Agcaoili, and CCCPET Director Assoc. Prof. Eric Zerrudo.
Assoc. Prof. Zerrudo presented the programs and projects of the Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and the Environment in the Tropics (GS CCCPET) in a meeting held at the Rector’s Hall.
Kral is in-charge of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) which awards grants through US embassies in developing countries for the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects and collections, and forms of traditional expression, such as music and language.
The UST CCCPET has been a recipient of two US Embassy Grants for the capacity building of cultural heritage workers. The first grant was the Training Course on the Development of a Conservation Management Plan held in Iloilo City from April 17 to 20, 2018, while the second iteration was the Capacity Building Seminar on the Development of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) and Safeguarding Mechanism for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) held in Legaspi City, Albay from February 21 to 27, 2019. These continuing education specialist programs have been developed along with the Graduate School Center for Continuing Professional Education (CCPED).
The Center’s heritage programs have been recognized by the national agencies as strategies for societal development. Cultural mapping has been integrated in RA 10066 or the Heritage Law and in the DILG Seal of Good Local Governance. Capacity building modules have been adopted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Trade and Industry-Design Center of the Philippines. Future projects have been endorsed to the US Embassy for grant support. These are the third iteration of the heritage awareness seminar workshop for local chief executives; the seminar on heritage sensitivity in construction for builders and contractors; the coalition of intangible cultural heritage carriers and curators, and the conference on the sites of memory and conscience.
Kral also visited the UST Library where he met UST Archivist Prof. Regalado Trota José and UST Prefect of Libraries Rev. Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P., at the Heritage Library. He expressed hopes for stronger links with the University through future collaborations and exchanges.