WASHINGTON D.C., US–Last July 27, 2018, Universitas Officers Atty. Oliver Tuazon (President & CEO), Mr. Dardecs Villanueva (Chief Finance Officer), and Mr. Gregg Tolentino (Executive Director for the Universitas Fellows Program (UFP) ) met with organizations based in Washington D.C., U.S., a hub of political debates and discourse, after having spent half a week in New York and New Haven. These engagements with various organizations mark the expansion of Universitas’ international linkages, which is key to strengthening its Fellows Program.
The Universitas officers met with Josh Holdenried, Associate Director of the Coalitions Relations of The Heritage Foundation, a think tank founded in 1973. The think tank focuses primarily on producing white papers or researches to be transmitted to the US Congress as material for various policy discussions. Although the Heritage Foundation does not offer short courses, they are open to considering Filipino applicants for internship or for their Young Leaders Program, one of the most competitive internship programs in Washington, D.C.
UFP Executive Director Gregg Tolentino noted that the Filipinos who would get accepted can, hopefully, bring home the discipline and knowledge they would acquire from their training as interns, and apply these in the systems of policy making and debates in the Philippine Congress.
To cap off that morning, the Universitas officers went on a lunch meeting with Dr. Robert Royal, President of Faith and Reason Institute, and Mr. William Saunders, Jr, a Harvard Law School alumnus and presently affiliated with the Catholic University of America. One of the points emphasized during the meeting was the need for support for the efforts of Universitas, both on the aspect of funding strategies as well as educational references viewpoints. Dr. Royal expressed his openness to setting up a facility for US-based donors to provide funding for Universitas. Equally important, the meeting ended with the group discussing a potential lecture series and conference in early 2019 to be conducted by Dr. Royal and Mr. Saunders in the Philippines.
Oliver, Dardecs, and Gregg then visited the Embassy of the Philippines in the US for a conversation with Economic Attaché Mylo Fausto. The officers introduced Universitas and hoped to gather support in the future from Filipinos in the US.
The last meeting of the day was an early dinner with Dr. Pat Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. The parties discussed about possible research collaborations on subjects such as the socio-economic implications of family structures and setup. Such research collaborations can provide an opportunity for Universitas Fellows to conduct their own research and, at the same time, fulfill the research and publication requirement of the program.
The officers spent the next day with a couple of Filipino families based in Maryland, to whom the officers presented the vision of Universitas. The officers were received by these families with an overwhelming support and enthusiasm. They were warmly accommodated by the family of Ryan and Michelle Tuazon during their stay in the area, and had a meal in the harbor area with Fred and Rose Porciuncula.
More than expanding prospective partner institutes, this leg of the tour also produced some hope of expanding the network of possible donors – now, more importantly for the Universitas office funiture and equipment to start operating for members’ use, and the foundation’s beneficiaries. (Please see www.universitas.ph/support for donations.)
Oliver and Dardecs are attending a course on the Moral Foundations of Law offered by the Whitherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey from July 29 to August 4, 2018. Gregg will then attend a course on Capital and the Good Life offered by the Abigail Adams Institute to be held at the Cambridge campus of Harvard University, from August 5-11, 2018.
NOTA BENE: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and the speakers mentioned in the article, and not necessarily to the Foundation.
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