21 April 2007

A gathering of IFP fellows

IT'S BEEN four years -- make that five as Rhialyn Cheng went a full year ahead of the rest -- since our pioneering batch of International Fellowship Program (IFP) fellows began our studies, a good number of them abroad.

Yesterday, I had to miss the first of three political fora organized by the Caceres Commission for Communication (CCCom) in line with the upcoming elections next month because of a two-day meeting at the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC) center here in Quezon City.

But it turned out to be a downer, as the expected slam-bang between Abang Mabulo and Dato Arroyo did not materialize. The latter was a no-show, using his father's current medical condition as an excuse, my colleague Joe Perez texted me from Naga. I think Vic Nierva's assessment here is a more compelling reason; Abang would have eaten Dato alive. But I digress.

A good number from our batch (which IFP-Philippines calls the 2002 Cohort) and the next (2004) turned up for the meet-up, with the end view of organizing current IFP alumni into an organization, plan its activities out and take on some critical tasks and services for departing and arriving fellows.

Having defined our vision-mission statement for the alumni association, after much wrangling with words and concepts which at times took some spirited twists and turns that our facilitator, Prof. Cecile Conaco would ably steer back on track, we will plan out our activities this morning and create a task group that will manage them for us.

Are we up to the task? The question surfaced after Ma'am Bambot Fernan, IFP-Philippines director, outlined the expectations of national alumni associations from IFP-New York. Reservations were initially expressed, but in the end, I think we became more comfortable with the possibilities this new challenge brings. Which is how it should be in the first place.