Ensuring culture and arts in foreign diplomacy

Ensuring culture and arts in foreign diplomacy
By Walter Ang
March 19, 2012
Philippine Daily Inquirer

DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario,
Metrobank Foundation chair George Ty and
Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto SobrepeƱa
Metrobank Foundation has partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs's "DiplomART: Cultural Diplomacy through Philippine Visual Arts," a program aimed at including culture and arts in foreign relations.

DFA secretary Hon. Albert del Rosario said, "DFA recognizes the impact of culture in modern diplomacy and sees it as an effective tool in protecting our national interest, in advancing our advocacies, and in achieving the development agenda of the country in the international arena."

He recently signed Department Order No. 15-11, which formalizes the creation of the Cultural Diplomacy Unit of the Department, ensuring that cultural promotions form part of the initiatives of the DFA personnel here and abroad.

The partnership was commemorated with an exhibit of winning artworks from the 27 years of the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (Made) competitions.

Metrobank founder and group chair George Ty was in attendance. Ty created the foundation in 1979 to "share the fruits of [the bank's] success with society." He serves as the foundation's chair.

Featured artists included former Made winners Roberto Feleo, Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, Mark Justinioni, and Jan Leeroy.

The Made competition started in 1984 solely as a painting competition and eventually included sculpture, interior design and architecture categories.

Aside from the exhibit, art lectures were conducted by historian, 2006 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Teacher, and INQUIRER columnist Ambeth Ocampo, who discussed "Searching for the Lost Eden, History, Culture and Nationhood," and by art critic and 2011 MADE Painting Competition judge Cid Reyes, who discussed "Public Domain, Private Hell: A Study of Images in Philippine Contemporary Visual Art and Sculpture".

The lectures were for DFA officers, cultural attaches and future ambassadors that will represent the Philippines in their respective foreign posts.

"Metrobank Foundation hopes to contribute in strengthening the cultural diplomacy program of the DFA," said Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto SobrepeƱa. "Exhibiting the exquisite works of our Filipino visual artists and providing opportunities for further learning about Philippine art and culture is an expression of our aim to enrich the soul of our nation through art and excellence."

Del Rosario said, "This partnership, we hope, will not only allow our personnel to take note of the developments in the world of arts, but also give rise to future events and initiatives that will inspire us to showcase to the world the glorious, unique and beautiful Filipino culture."

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