The hybrid international conference “Decolonial Asian Knowledge” was successfully hosted by the University of the Philippines (UP) Asian Center last February 21-22. Along with the Center for International Studies in partnership with Asia West East Center, Department of International Relations, Department of International Relations and Miriam College featured a seminar on Decolonial Thoughts and Autonomous Knowledge during the first day and seminar workshop on Asian Thinkers and Middle East in the Philippines at the UP Asian Center seminar room and GT-Toyota auditorium respectively.

The highlight of the hybrid international seminar featured Prof. Syed Farid Alatas from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the National University of Singapore. The first day had Prof. Alatas alongside with Dr. Ramon Guillermo of the UP Center for International Studies and Dr. Jose Antonio Clemente of the UP Department of Psychology. The in-person discussion was accompanied by an online livestream in February 21 from 10am to 12pm.

Moreover, the next day Prof. Alatas gave a keynote speech which was followed by several presentations by Dr. Ariel Lopez, Dr. Noel Christian Moratilla, Dr. Esmaeil Zeiny and Dr. Henelito Sevilla. Then the reactors from Mindanao State University, Miriam College and New Era University took turns in providing a perspective on the discussion of decolonial asian thought by Asian thinkers and middle east studies in the Philippines.

The hybrid event also re-opening of the exhibit and ribbon cutting of the Bulwagan ng mga Bayani by curator Dr. Matthew Santamaria with UP President Dr. Angelo Jimenez along the UP Chancellor Dr. Fidel Nemenzo.

According to UP Asian Center, “Much of the literature and teaching in the humanities and social sciences is influenced by western scholarship, partly due to colonial legacies. The dominance of western scholarship in our education carries over into our daily lives and the lenses that we use to understand and interact with the world around us. As a consequence, we fail to appreciate the value of indigenous knowledge.”

In addition, the said hybrid seminar revisited indigenous knowledge as an important component in area studies and have scholars from Malaysia, Iran, and the Philippines who presented the works on decolonial thoughts and Asian experiences. Together with Prof. Alatas and his delegation, the UP Asian Center and the Center for International Studies. In the end, it was expected out of the conversation on decolonial knowledge last February 21 and 22 2023. The seminar aims to identify possible topics for joint research among our faculty and students.