Letter from the Executive Director - April 2014
Greetings of Peace!
We are living in promising times. The March 27 signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro by the GPH and the MILF will usher in a new chapter in the story of Mindanao, after 17 years of peace talks between the two parties. The agreements on transition, wealth, and power sharing signed in the past two years will lead to the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will be the foundation for lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao.
The Center for Bridging Leadership has been an enabler of peace and development for more than a decade, and I thank my predecessor Prof. Nieves R. Confesor for the strategies and initiatives taken by the Center in the last 5 years. Now, it is with a great sense of mission and excitement that I share with you all, the Center for Bridging Leadership's accomplishments and ongoing activities since I became Executive Director in January of this year.
Last February 17-18, the Center conducted a Bridging Leadership workshop for 17 members of the Bongao Local School Board at the AIM, together with Mindanao Bridging Leaders Program (MBLP) Cohort 4 fellow Mayor Jasper Que. The two-day workshop introduced the skills and abilities required for addressing the complex educational divide in Bongao, including visioneing, systems thinking, and the challenge of leadership. For the live case, Bridging Leadership Fellows Program (BLFP) Cohort 2 fellow Dr. Lorna Dino, Assistant Secretary of the DepEd, shared her leadership experience in Sorsogon. The workshop culminated in the participants' presentation of action plans.
The Center continues to hold public programs for wider audiences. In partnership with the AIM-Ramon V. del Rosario Sr. Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, we conducted a three-day community engagement program entitled "Co-Creating the Future: Mobilizing Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships" last February 26-28 at the AIM. The pubic program was attended by 21 participants from private corporations, government, and civil society: systems thinking, footprint and stakeholder analyses, negotiation, multi-stakeholder engagement, and impact evaluation. Guest speakers included MBLP Cohort 4 fellow Ernesto Casiple, Jr. of the UNFPA, formerly with the Rural Microenterprise Promotion program of the DTI, and New York designer, Len Cabili.
With invaluable help from our fellows, the Center has been contributing to finalizing the peace accord in Mindanao. On March 11-12, we have assisted the Independent Commission on Policing, the body tasked to submit recommendations to the GPH-MILF Peace Panels for the formation of a police force for teh Bangsamoro, in facilitating a consultation session with elected LGU officials. We have been privileged to have BLFP Cohort 3 fellows Emran Mohamad and Jainab Abdulmajid, and MBLP Cohort 2 fellows Abdul Hamidullah Atar and Sherjan Kalim lead the group discussion.
We continue to keep abreast with BL Fellows through the Tracer Study completed in February, with 73% (or 55 out of 75) of the BLFP and MBLP fellows responding to the survey. Based on the respondents, most of the fellows were able to incorporate the BL Framework into their previous and current work engagements as well as share their knowledge and concepts with other institutions. Most fellows were able to achieve their goal in addressing a specific social problem despite the challenges encountered during the BL application in their respective institution and areas of project.
A new 2014-2019 Center Strategy was formulated in the Strategic Planning Seminar held last March 7-9 at Pagbilao, Quezon. Fifteen major stakeholders, both internal and external, looked back at the Center's accomplishments in the last 5 years. In attendance were: TeaM Energy Foundation's Roderick de Castro, MBLP and FBLP fellows: Sec. Myra Alih, Mayor Oscar Moreno, LtGen. Raymundo Ferrer (Ret.), Dr. Sherjan kalim, Miriam Suacito, Ariel Fernandez, and Center staff. We thank Prof. Jacinto C. Gavino for facilitating the session, and the TeaM Energy Corporation and TeaM Energy Foundation for providing the venue for this very important session.
In the spirit of continuous improvement and learning, we are studying and developing impact evaluation and assessment tools for the BL Fellowship Program. The chosen fellows for the pilot test are Ms. Myra Alih (DOST-ARMM Regional Secretary), Mayor Romeo Tiongco (Municipality of Damulog, Bukidnon), Mr. Susano Balais (Balay Mindanaw Business Development Manager), Mayor jasper Que (Municipality of Bongao, Tawi Tawi), and Dr. Sherjan Kalim (Cotabato Regional Medical Center Head).
In terms of publications, the Mindanao Bridging Leaders Program Casebook Volume II entitled, "Co-Creating Peace in Mindanao: A Fellow at a Time" is on its writing phase. Similar to the first volume, the Zuellig School of Development Management (ZSDM), under Dean Mike Luz, supports the development of the cases which will be used both for AIM degree and non-degree Programs. The casebook is composed of 12 stories of leadership of fellows from MBLP Cohort 4 and 5. First drafts of the cases are currently being reviewed.
Our next major program involves the youth, who will be the next generation of leaders. Preparations are ongoing for the Future Bridging Leaders Program (FBLP) supported by TeaM Energy Foundation Inc., which will have its first workshop in May of this year. The FBLP is premised on the youth's important role of co-creating the future, addressing societal divides, and the need to develop a new breed of leaders who will have the courage, commitment, knowledge and skills to embody and translate the program's thrust of I AM CHANGE. Thirty (30) aspirants will be selected from applicants nationwide, and awarded a fellowship. I invite you to nominate applicants to our Futur Bridging Leaders Program!
Also this year, we are preparing for an event to celebrate the 10th year founding anniversary of the AIM-TeaM Energy Center for Bridging Leadership. This will serve as a gathering of our fellows, partners, and people we have gotten to know and connectred with since the inception of the center. Until we have finalized the details, we hope to keep your excitement for this upcoming celebration.
It has been a fast-paced and enjoyable journey the past 3 months, and together with peace and development advocates everywhere, expect great things during these promising times!
Prof. Manuel J. De Vera