Thursday, January 17, 2008

This is your invitation to attend:

June 26-28, 2008
University of the Philippines, Iloilo

One of the most important features of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) is the tendency to see the world with all its beings as a holistic system where things operate interdependently. Harmony with other people and the environment is a much-needed trait today in our shrinking global village. This orientation is called "kapwa"—the shared self — in the Filipino traditional value system, as expounded by Sikolohiyang Pilipino (SP).

Enhancing, strengthening and rebuilding ancestral Filipino Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) is also the thrust of the Heritage and Arts Academies of the Philippines Inc. (HAPI)— a non-profit organization which my Filipino husband Kidlat Tahimik and I incorporated in 2002.

HAPI is presently initiating KAPWA-2, an international conference that will bring together indigenous knowledge-holders and the academe under the unifying paradigm of Filipino indigenous psychology. This first systematic attempt to formulate an Asian Psychology is known in academic circles as Sikolohiyang Pilipino (SP). This consultation is a follow-up to a successful SP conference in 2004 titled "Pagkataong Filipino— The Theory, Practice and Values of Philippine Personhood" at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Campus (hereafter referred to as KAPWA-1).

"KAPWA-2— Filipino Psychology and Indigenous Knowledge: The Relevance of Local Frameworks in the Global Age" will examine the significance in the 21st century, of ancestral IKSP and such academic endeavors as Sikolohiyang Pilipino (which you are very familiar with through your own efforts in helping Virgilio Enriquez to set up a SP chapter in the Bay Area). Calendared as part of the UP Centennial on 26-28 June 2008, the 4-day multi-module event will feature a 2-day conference at the UPV Iloilo, augmented with culture bearer art exhibits and indigenous film showings at the Museo Iloilo. A 1-day symposium will convene Schools of Living Traditions.

Unlike conferences exclusively designed for the academe, KAPWA-2 will provide a forum for intangible heritage by programming the traditional representations of knowledge: Epic chanting, oral histories, myths, music, dance, ceremonial ritual performances and films will augment the theoretical papers (see draft program). An extension program will offer indigenous arts workshops and a series of ethnic films. This is a conscious attempt to help re-define Asian/ Philippine social sciences— beyond the pervading scope of Western academic models today.
By design, the lumad (keepers of ancestral traditions) will share their special knowledge in its original format. This means that the conference participants will experience the pre-lingual voice of man in the melodic "lectures" of epic chanting, instead of merely ingesting the analytical discourses about these ancient prayers.

During KAPWA-1, for example, the T’boli elder Mendung Sabal entranced her audience with 20 minutes of spirit invocation while playing her two-stringed kudyapi. Her rendition was placed at par with readings of theoretical papers by PhD holders in anthropology (psychology/ history/ etc.) and needed no further explanation.

KAPWA-2, therefore, will convene not only the formal scholars from different Philippine universities and the Living Traditions representatives— but also Filipino artists, cultural workers, media, and professionals actively involved with preserving IKSP in their lifeworks. This will balance the theoretical with the culture-bearing practices. We are also inviting international discussants from Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Tibet, Canada and USA, whose works/ researches have long pointed out the importance of IKSP to formal education. Their papers/ films/ lectures attest to the significance of the SP paradigm for Asian social sciences— beyond the scope of mere Philippine Studies.

The significance of the KAPWA-1 conference format had been recognized and supported by the government and private sectors (UP, NCCA, CCP, the Akademiya ng Sikolohiyang Pilipino, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Toyota Foundation).

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