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Philosophizing from the Philippines at PESA 2023

It was an honor to be invited to convene a spotlight panel for the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia annual conference this December, held at the University of Auckland, and I was delighted to convene one with colleagues Lovelyn Corpuz (ADMU), Agustin 'Guss' Rodriguez (ADMU), and Bernard Caslib (UP Manila). Travel and funding complications meant that in the end, only Lovelyn and I were able to present our papers, whereas Guss made arrangements for his paper to be read by Leal Rodriguez, who knows Guss' work well and has been working on very similar topics. (This was over and above Leal's own excellent presentation about masculinities in Philippine education; thanks, Leal!) Our panel drew from Philippine concepts, experiences, and practices to develop philosophies about educational relationships: Guss' paper drew from loób theory to consider what 'subjectivity' means for Filipino learners, whereas Lovelyn's addressed a difficult queston about authority by looking at the conception of kapwa.



My paper was part of my ongoing 'education as reparation' project, and for this presentation, I tried to draw from Philippine intergenerational practices to develop the concept of 'ancestry' that is increasingly being used in climate education. It was great to hear feedback, not only from the audience, but also in the informal discussions both before and after our presentation, where I learned a lot about conceptions of ancestry across different contexts.



Representatives from all the East Asian philosophy of education societies very kindly turned up to our panel session, and it was a fantastic opportunity to meet them, and discuss opportunities for collaboration in the future. Exciting days ahead!


One of the hallmarks of PESA is its openness to and celebration of non-Western philosophical traditions, and this was of course enriched by the fact that we were in Aotearoa New Zealand. Two of the four plenary lectures (the keynote, by the inimitable Linda Tuhiwai Smith, and the public lecture, by Te Kawehau Hoskins and Alison Jones) were profound introductions (for me) to Maori philosophies, and both at those lectures, as well as amidst more informal conversations with other delegates, it was delightful to see the parallels between Philippine philosphical thinking and philosophical thinking among our cousins across the Pacific. I was also moved by many of the rich Maori traditions that I was witnessing for the first time, especially the singing of waiata to honor people.


It was good to reconnect with old philosophy of education friends at the conference, especially colleagues from Hong Kong and China, some of whom I hadn't seen since before the pandemic. It was also a delight meeting new like-minded people, and finally (!) meeting some of UP Diliman's Philosophy of Education faculty in person (whose presentation, unfortunately, was at the same time as ours!).


To be honest, I almost didn't go to PESA this year, because it's such a long and expensive trip from London. But funding from Ateneo and PESGB made it possible for me to go, and I am so very glad I did. The execom, conference organizing committee, and University of Auckland staff all did a fantastic job. I'm so grateful Marek Tesar (immediate PESA past president) extended the invitation to us, and I look forward to attending again soon.



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