(6ISC Day 1 @ AUP). The 6th International Scholars’ Conference (6ISC) with the theme, “Translating Research in a Borderless Community: From Theory to Action” has been held at the Adventist University of the Philippines in Puting Kahoy, Silang, Cavite on October 29-30, 2018. From the registry, 599 registered, 253 are presenters while 346 as participants from 30 higher education institutions (HEIs) and two basic education institutions, both local and international. The opening ceremony started at 8:30 AM.
The keynote speaker during the opening ceremony was Dr. Custer C. Deocaris, Head of the Research Management Division on Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Philippines. Dr. Deocaris is a well cited researcher and multi-awarded scientist. His message was entitled, “Our Road to NHERA II.” NHERA stands for National Higher Education Agenda, which is basically a Research and Development laboratory that supports HEI researchers to produce research outputs and innovations to advance the country’s economy. Dr. Deocaris encouraged the Filipino researchers to produce more research to lift the rank of the country in the ASEAN region. He reported that there were only 97 projects and PhP522,205 budget for research in NHERA I (1999-2017) while in NHERA II (2008-2018), the number of projects reached 447 with PhP1.1 million budget. Although the budget and research outputs increased, Dr. Deocaris lamented that the country is lagging behind from its ASEAN counterparts especially Malaysia and Thailand. In his message, he also stated that Natural Science has more proposed research with 39.8% while Humanities and Arts is at the bottom with 0%. He also said some aspirations for the NHERA III which “aims to create a strategy, to spawn 21st century Filipino researchers to have a curious and creative minds and diversity of talents”. Dr. Deocaris emphasized that the HEIs are now considered as the most powerful sector that can change people’s lives through research.
Parallel sessions in various strands (Allied Health, Arts and Humanities and Education, Business and Governance, Science and Technology, and Philosophy and Theology) were well participated. In the afternoon plenary session, Dr. Danny Rantung, President of Asia Pacific International University, Thailand, was the speaker. Dr. Rantung discussed the challenges facing HEI administrations. He explained how HEIs can break boundaries and walls for innovation to take place.
The 6ISC participants were welcomed with cultural presentations during dinner. As AUP is known for its diversified students from over 50 countries, the cultural night was spectacular in entertaining the conference guests and participants.
This annual event is a partnership of four Adventist HEIs in the ASEAN region, namely Adventist University of the Philippines, Asia-Pacific International University (AIU) in Thailand, Universitas Advent Indonesia (UNAI), and Universitas Klabat (UNKLAB) also in Indonesia. The First International Scholars’ Conference was held in AIU in Thailand in 2013, the second was hosted by AUP, the third was by UNAI, and the fourth was by UNKLAB. Then, last year, the cycle began again in AIU as these four HEIs take turns in hosting the ISC.