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FMDS Conducts Round Table Discussion on Sustainability Perspectives

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of UP Open University (UPOU) conducted a Round Table Discussion on Sustainability Perspectives on 18 April 2017 at the UP Open University Headquarters, Los Banos, Laguna to advance sustainable science as a vital component in achieving sustainable development.

In his welcome message, Dr. Primo G. Garcia, Dean of FMDS, said that sustainable development is a “global concept anchored on sustainability which takes into account the well-being of future generations.” Given the complexities of sustainability as an area of inquiry as well as a field of endeavor, he added, it is important to explore the concept from the scientific, philosophical and social movement perspectives.

Dr. Osamu Saito from the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) shared his expertise on sustainability from the point of view of the natural sciences. Dr. Saito presented a definition of sustainability science as an interdisciplinary approach that connects basic and applied research towards providing a solution to a problem. He enumerated notable publications in ecosystem, biodiversity and natural resources management which have dominated research in sustainable science. He said that fewer studies were done on sustainable urban and rural planning as well as architectural design innovation.

Dr. Saito also explained that sustainability science is concerned with examining the interaction between society and nature and is best approached through problem driven and problem solving methods, multi criteria assessment and systems approach, multi-, inter-, or transdisciplinary characteristics and adaptive management and social learning which are also adopted in other fields but are particularly vital for sustainability science. According to him, the key to further strengthening and promoting sustainability science is through integration, cooperation and collaboration between scientists and practitioners. This entails developing a relationship between science and society wherein research goes beyond scientific inquiry to include co-creation of knowledge for action.

Moving from the natural science perspective, the round table discussion tackled sustainability from a philosophical point of view with Dr. Richard Bawden of Western Sydney University doing his presentation via videoconferencing. Dr. Bawden opened his presentation by highlighting the importance of surfacing our philosophical assumptions about sustainability as well as practices of sustainable development. He suggested that if we are to pursue sustainability, we need to examine first our currently held beliefs and assumptions about the nature of sustainability because these would influence how we treat our research and actions towards it. The biggest challenge in promoting sustainability according to him is the lack of worldview consciousness, appreciation and transformation.

The last perspective to be discussed was sustainability from the social movement perspective by Dr. Alexander Flor, Dean of UPOU’s Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS). Dr. Flor traced the origin of sustainability from the “baby boomer” generation which questioned the narrow focus on economic growth and science at that time. From the Cartesian-Newtonian science perspective, scientific knowledge is seen as a tool to make humankind masters of nature where nature is a mechanical system that can be manipulated and exploited. This perspective is viewed by the sustainability movement as an antithesis to sustainability. An alternative to this view is a systems model that includes economic, social and environmental values. Sustainability from the social movement perspective inspired the contemporary discourse on sustainability advanced by the United Nations and the more progressive bilateral agencies.

The round table discussion was wrapped up by Dr. Jean A. Saludadez, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration of UPOU. The outputs and insights from the activity will be used for the improvement of the proposed PhD program in Sustainability Science in terms of its nature, intent, as well as current and future directions. FMDS’ thrust, courses and programs are geared towards the promotion of sustainable development in our communities (Paula Grace Muyco).

UPOU targets Ifugao Rice Terraces Conservation and Sustainable Development in New Project

UP Open University (UPOU), in fulfillment of its mission of widening access to quality education and its public service thrust, targets the Sustainable Development and Conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) in its project with UP Los Baños, Kanazawa University, Ifugao State University (IFSU), the Ifugao Provincial Government, and selected municipalities in Ifugao funded by Mitsui & Co. Ltd.

Dubbed as the “Youth Capacity Building and Exchange Program toward Sustainable Development and Conservation of Ifugao Rice Terraces,” the project will focus on training the Ifugao youth on the concepts of IRT as a Satoyama landscape and a Globally Important Heritage System (GIASH), sustainable tourism, sustainable farming practices, local food security, agricultural heritage systems and the cultural heritage preservation of the IRT. Training modules and multimedia materials will be developed to aid in the capacity building of the youths.. Partnerships will also be linked between countryside and urban communities and provide hands-on experience, exchange programs and internship to rural and urban-based youths.

During the launch, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, welcomed all partners and guests to the launch. She coined the term #Y4IRT as the shorter name to the project and explained how the project proves important to the University. All collaborators were given an opportunity to share messages. Dr. Koji Nakamura from Kanazawa University gave a short message about the importance of educating and supporting the young generation. Dr. Portia Lapitan, UPLB Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, says UPLB is proud to be part of the team that leads in the conservation of the country's National Heritage.

Dr. Marissa Bulong, the Director of the IFSU GIAHS Center, shares how IFSU commits its full support in the successful implementation of the project. Councilor Pablo Cuyahon of the Hungduan Municipal Government stated how much it means to the Ifugaos that projects like #Y4IRT are aimed at the sustainable development and conservation of their rice terraces, culture and way of life.

Mr. Masanori Sato, General Manager for Corporate Planning & Administration Division of Mitsui & Co. Ltd, the project's funding agency, explained that #Y4IRT is one the three projects chosen by the company out of about 90 proposals submitted within Asia.

Dr. Joane Serrano, #Y4IRT Project Leader, introduced the Project Team members.

Dr. Primo Garcia, Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), delivered the closing remarks. He thanked everyone for their presence and commitment to the sustainable development and conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

This capacity building and exchange program will empower the young generation of Ifugaos with the knowledge and leadership needed to sustain the IRT landscape. Participants will learn about the IRT culture and way of life, and involved youths will learn from each other to promote a holistic view of rural and urban linkages to appreciate interconnectedness of these systems. This project, which will run for two years, will create awareness of the GIAHS areas among the youth, and their relevance in the present world. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

FMDS celebrates World Social Work Day and National Women’s Month with LTIO Lecture Series

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) celebrated the World Social Work Day and National Women’s Month on 21 March 2017 with a Let’s Talk It Over (LTIO) lecture series entitled Kababaihan, Kalikasan, Komunidad, which discussed the role of social work to promote sustainable environments and communities and the role of women in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Two leading experts in women and development were invited to speak at the lecture series. Ms. Marita Castillo-Pimentel, the Director for Field Operations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), presented DSWD’s tasks in terms of human capital development, improvement of the country’s social protection programs, and implementation of the responsible parenthood and reproductive health law. Director Pimentel also shared with the audience DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo’s phrase “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” meaning “From the Masses, For the Masses” which is central to the department’s promotive and protective programs characterized by maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo, serbisyong walang puwang sa katiwalian, at patas na pagtrato sa komunidad. She urged everyone to continuously harness women’s participation towards change and advocate for people-oriented and people-centered policies, programs and initiatives at various levels to promote sustainable communities living harmoniously with their natural environments.

Dr. Thelma R. Paris, an independent consultant and formerly a gender specialist for Climate Change in Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), discussed the roles of women and men in agriculture and climate change, particularly in in rice-based farming systems, impacts of climate change in agriculture and on rural livelihoods, coping mechanisms and vulnerabilities of men and women in the face of climate change risks, research on climate change, agriculture, food security and gender as well as climate smart agriculture and farming practices.

According to Dr. Paris, “the goal of reducing poverty and hunger, improving human health and nutrition, and climate resilience can be achieved if agricultural research institutions in partnership with extension agencies and NGOs will provide women and men equal access to opportunities and empower women to maximize their skills, talents and inputs for their benefit, their families, the society and the future generation.” Dr. Paris also serves as a faculty-in-charge for UPOU’s DWD program teaching Women and Work.

Thought provoking questions were raised during the open forum by the live and online viewers from overseas. The speakers and the audience engaged in a discussion of society’s perception of women empowerment, lessons learned in terms of improving women’s roles in preparing for and overcoming climate-related disasters as well as how can disaster risk reduction and management be gender sensitive. The forum provided insights on rethinking the concept of women's empowerment and gender roles and the interconnection of women, environment and community to further analyze and respond to the issues related to the said three concepts.

Held at the UPOU’s Audio-Visual Room with livestreaming via networks.upou.edu.ph, the event was organized by the Diploma in/Master of Social Work (D/MSW) and Diploma in Women and Development (DWD) programs of FMDS in cooperation with the Office of Gender Concerns (OGC) and is in line with the National Women’s Month celebration theme “We Make Change Work for Women.”

The World Social Work Day is celebrated every 3rd Tuesday of March to recognize the contribution of social work and push for the promotion of the social work profession and its significant role in development. This observance is jointly organized by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the School of Social Work Geneva (HETS-Genève) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) where UP Open University is an institutional member through its D/MSW program under FMDS. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability” which relates to the 3rd pillar of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. (Paula Grace Muyco)


Announcements

FMDS Comprehensive Exam Date Schedule 1st semester 2017-2018

Diploma in Social Work

Human Behavior & Social Environment (October 24, 2017)

Social Welfare Policies and Research (October 26, 2017)

 

Master of Social Work

Human Behavior & Social Environment

Social Welfare Policies and Research

(October 24, 2017)

Social Work Profession and Practice

Social Agency , Leadership and Management

(October 26, 2017)

Area of Specialization (October 28, 2017)

 

Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management

General Field (October 27, 2017)

Major Field (October 28, 2017)

 

Master of Public Management

General Field (November 6, 2017)

Public Policy and Program Administration (November 8, 2017)

Local Government and Regional Administration(LGRA) & Voluntary Sector Management (VSM) (November 10, 2017)

 

Master of Arts in Nursing (January 9 and 11, 2018)

 

Master of ASEAN Studies (January 12, 2018)

 

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