Oktoberfest: Emanating the Spirit of Solidarity and Freedom
The International Academy for Leadership (IAF) Philippine Alumni Group held its annual gathering on the 12th of October 2017 at the San Lorenzo Village Multi-Purpose Hall, Makati City where over 50 old and new alumni members gathered to “Think New” not only by engaging on timely political and economic discussions but also by introducing innovative initiatives to reinvigorate participatory democracy – all prolifically done over German sausages and draft beers!
“I was really impressed that the Foundation was able to gather a good combination of young and old members in this occasion as this would create a more interactive discussion.“ Dr. Roland Schissau, the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy in Manila, graced the event and discussed the results of the recently concluded German Federal Elections. The efforts of the Liberal Democrats (FDP) to regroup and rebrand during the election campaign brought positive results as they will finally make a comeback to the 19th German Bundestag with a 10.7 percentage of votes. The conservatives (CDU/CSU), the social democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the Populist right (AafD) have also secured seats in the parliament. After the discussion, questions were raised on the implication of the German Elections to the Philippines and the possibility of the Federal type of government in the country.
As part of the tradition, new members of the group, Ms. Joyce Crisanto, from the Commission on Human Rights, Atty. Ariel Tanangonan, Deputy Director General of the Liberal Party of the Philippines, and Mr. John Paul Delas Nieves from the Office of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, shared a glimpse of the seminar each of them attended, as well as their unique IAF experiences and learnings.
The IAF gathering served as an occasion to pay tribute to a staunch liberal who dedicated her life for the betterment of the lives of the Filipinos. Known as Ma’am Dina / Mom Dina to her dear colleagues, her life as a liberal stalwart was commemorated through a video presentation. Ms. Minnie Salao, Regional Communications Officer of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Southeast and East Asia, who worked closely with Ms. Abad in the past, shared some of their fond memories and how she was so passionate in her grassroots works. She also expressed her admiration on Ms. Dina Abad’s endless wise thoughts in politics and in life. “She was more than a mentor. She was a mother to all of us.”
The night was capped off by testing the competitiveness and team spirit of the alumni member through the most anticipated annual Pub quiz. The group was divided into four teams and played three rounds – the easy, challenging, and difficult round - where questions encompassed all categories – from Germany to the end of the world! Each round was intense as the teams battle it out to be on top but in the end, the table 4, whose members were also the last year’s champion, won the competition.
Hon. Erin Tanada, a law maker and an alumnus, remarked, “Freedom is currently being challenged by political turmoil. An hour of peril should not dishearten us but rather serve as a driving force to be creative in thinking new ways on how we could restore freedom that every Filipinos deserve.
Mr. Wolfgang Heinze, Head of Country of FNF Philippines added, “One of our priorities is to make our network stronger than ever, and I am very happy that we have a very diverse pool that could contribute to our cause of fighting for freedom.”