November 24, 2022

Philippine consulate general in Toronto and York University sign deed of donation to implement a Philippine studies program

The Philippine Consulate General in Toronto and York University signed a Deed of Donation to implement a Philippine Studies Program. The Philippine Government will donate around $116,000.00 to York University through the Deed of Donation.

Consul General Orontes V. Castro signed on behalf of the Philippine Government while Dr. Rhonda L. Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor of York University, led the signing for the University. The objective of the program is to enhance people-to-people relations between the Philippines and Canada through academic programs, projects, and activities related to Filipino history, culture, and society. AMPD community members were invited to the ceremony, including AMPD Dance Chair Patrick Alcedo. 

“This is such a great opportunity for us to draw new people into our community; to affirm, recognize and validate those who are already here,” said Sarah Bay-Cheng, Dean, York University School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design. “It is also [a great opportunity] to really expand the interest in Philippine studies, not just among Filipinos and members of the diaspora, but for us all.”

The donation was made possible through the initiative of the Honorable Loren Legarda, Senator and President pro tempore of the Senate of the Philippines. In a message read by Consul General Castro, Senator Legarda highlighted her advocacy for cultural diplomacy and the importance of academic engagements in strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and Canada. “The Philippine Studies Program at York University will highlight the relevance of the academe in enhancing our countries’ relations and opening opportunities for more collaboration in various fields,” Senator said in her message.

Likewise, Dr. Lenton, in her remarks, conveyed the University’s deep appreciation for the donation. She noted that the implementation of a Philippine Studies program at York University highlights the mutually-shared values between the Philippines and Canada; and will lead to further cooperation on higher education.

Projects and activities which are expected to be implemented under the program include lectures, enhancement of the Filipiniana collection of the University, research and publication; and institutionalization of a Philippine studies course.

The news comes after Alcedo was recognized with Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award by Canadian Immigrant and the 2021 Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential medal by the Office of the President (outgoing), Rodrigo Duterte. Alcedo is a master storyteller across art forms, with his documentary film, A Piece of Paradise, winning Best Canadian Film and Best First Feature Film at the 2017 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. His next documentaries, a short film called They Call Me Dax and the feature-length A Will to Dream were screened and recognized at various prestigious film festivals in 2021 and 2022.