by Karylle Panorel | November 30, 2021
Silliman University (SU) marked the 2021 International Cultural Exchange (ICE), an annual event honoring the International United Nations (UN) Day and featuring the coronation of Mister and Miss Silliman International 2021, through Facebook Live last November 25.
The event kicked off with an international student fellowship in celebration of the 76th International United Nations Day, with the theme “Recovering Better For An Equitable and Sustainable World.”
The guest speaker, chargé d’affaires, ad interim, and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York, Ms. Kira Christianne Danganan-Azucena, emphasized the importance of international students in the Silliman community through the Higala International Students from Around the World (HI: SAW), an organization of international students in SU.
“I would like to think that your group [HI:SAW] promotes among local Sillimanians the understanding that while we look and sound different and come from countries located an ocean away, there are really more commonalities than differences between us, and that we should focus on these so that, in the end, we can achieve a sense of fraternity and unity among all of us,” Danganan-Azucena said.
Danganan-Azucena hoped that the university acknowledges the significance of the presence of international students and their organization. She added that the university should realize the importance of the organization in promoting an international outlook among students.
She also discussed the UN’s beginnings and its operations and the obstacles it has faced during the pandemic.
In the second half of the event, the coronation of Mr. and Ms. Silliman International 2021 marked the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Ms. Louise Serate of the United States of America was proclaimed as Ms. Silliman International 2021.
Serate, a first-year medical student, is committed to inspiring healthcare workers to care about more than simply the outcomes of a violent home, but also to put their mission of human care into action.
She also pledged to defend women and children, thinking that gender-based violence is linked to poverty.
“Violence against women is neither inevitable nor acceptable; it is a violation of human rights for which states are accountable. Violence against women, which is fueled by gender-based, inequality, exclusion, and discrimination, is a constraint to sustainable human development,” Serate added.
Meanwhile, the crowned Mr. Silliman International 2021, Mr. Charles Alexis Branthomme from France, believed that men and boys must be part of the solution to end gender-based violence.
Branthomme said that “men cannot afford to get the capacities, strengths, inputs, ideas, visions, and uniqueness of half of its population, women have voices and we have to respect that they should be heard. All we need is love and understanding and zero violence.”
“The future of the non-violent world is up to you. You and I will determine what kind of future we want and what kind of society our sons and daughters will grow up into,” added Branthomme.
He ended his speech with a famous quotation from his country, “il vaut mieux prévenir que guérir après [it is better to prevent it than to heal afterward].”
ICE is an annual tradition of the international community of SU. The cultural exchange is instituted by SU’s Office of Student Affairs and the International Students Center under the advisory of Mr. Moses Joshua B. Atega.