His Excellency Asif Ahmad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, delivered the keynote lecture at the Islam and Democracy Forum 2014 held at the Case Room of the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) on 31 March 2014.
The forum, which was co-organized by NCPAG and the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), was the fourth in a series of special lectures organized by the College starting January 2014.
In her welcome remarks, NCPAG Dean Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza explained that the forum is in line with NCPAG’s commitment to encourage public discourse related to the theme “Exemplary Public Administration in the Service of the Nation.”
Mendoza added that the NCPAG accepted the invitation of the PCID to co-organize the forum “because [the NCPAG] wanted to appreciate the travails of our Muslim brothers and sisters and their journey to peace and development.”
For her part, PCID President Amina Rasul-Bernardo emphasized the significance of the Islam and Democracy forum in the context of the recent signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsmoro (CAB) between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Rasul-Bernardo recognized that there is a lot of work to be done to make the CAB successful and the forum is therefore a venue where people can “gain ideas and encouragement from distinguished speakers.”
“Through this forum, UP continues to exercise its public service responsibility in providing democratic space for all of us to analyze, debate and find common ground for our quest for lasting peace and progress,” UP President Alfredo Pascual said in the forum.
Also in the audience were former senators Santanina Rasul and Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Vice President for Public Affairs Prospero E. de Vera and representatives from government agencies, civil society, students, the Muslim community, and the diplomatic community.
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