The hybrid international conference “Decolonial Asian Knowledge” was successfully hosted recently by the University of the Philippines (UP) Asian Center.

Along with the Center for International Studies and in collaboration with Asia West East Center, Department of International Relations, and Miriam College, the first day (February 21) featured a seminar on Decolonial Thoughts and Autonomous Knowledge and a seminar-workshop on Asian Thinkers and the Middle East in the Philippines at the UP Asian Center seminar room and GT-Toyota auditorium.

Prof. Syed Farid Alatas from the National University of Singapore’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, was the main attraction of the hybrid international seminar.

Prof. Alatas was joined on the first day by Dr. Ramon Guillermo of the UP Center for International Studies and Dr. Jose Antonio Clemente of the UP Department of Psychology. The in-person discussion was accompanied by an internet webcast.

Furthermore, Prof. Alatas delivered a keynote speech the next day, which was followed by presentations by Dr. Ariel Lopez, Dr. Noel Christian Moratilla, Dr. Esmaeil Zeiny, and Dr. Henelito Sevilla. The reactors from Mindanao State University, Miriam College, and New Era University then took turns offering their perspectives on Asian thinkers’ discussions of decolonial Asian thinking and middle east studies in the Philippines.

The hybrid event also included the re-opening of the exhibit and the cutting of the ribbon for the Bulwagan ng mga Bayani by curator Dr. Matthew Santamaria, UP President Dr. Angelo Jimenez, and UP Chancellor Dr. Fidel Nemenzo.

According to the UP Asian Center, “Much of the literature and teaching in the humanities and social sciences is influenced by western scholarship, partly due to colonial legacies. The dominance of western scholarship in our education carries over into our daily lives and the lenses that we use to understand and interact with the world around us. As a consequence, we fail to appreciate the value of indigenous knowledge.”

In addition, the said hybrid seminar revisited indigenous knowledge as an important component in area studies and have scholars from Malaysia, Iran, and the Philippines who presented the works on decolonial thoughts and Asian experiences. Together with Prof. Alatas and his delegation, the UP Asian Center and the Center for International Studies. In the end, it was expected out of the conversation on decolonial knowledge last February 21 and 22 2023. The seminar aims to identify possible topics for joint research among our faculty and students.

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