The Foreign Service Institute, in partnership with the Cultural Counsellorship of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, University of the Philippines Asian Center, and the Philippine-Iran Cultural and Scientific Society (PICSS), Inc., held the international conference “Philippines-Iran Relations: 50 Years and Beyond” on 20 February 2015 at the Asian Center Auditorium, GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City.
Commemorating over 50 years of bilateral relations between Iran and the Philippines, the conference featured several papers discussing the origins, development, and future of the Philippines-Iran relations; comparing the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution; identifying similarities between Iranian and Filipino culture; and examining Filipinos’ perceptions of Iran and Iranians.
University of the Philippines President Alfredo E. Pascual, in his welcome remarks, highlighted the need to deepen understanding of Philippine-Iran relations and promote bilateral engagements through the sharing of academic and policy researches.
H.E. Aliasghar Muhammadi, the Iranian Ambassador to the Philippines, stated that the warm diplomatic relations between the two countries are manifested by intensive people-to-people exchanges though culture and sports, support to the peace and development in Mindanao, and humanitarian assistance following the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Dr. Gharaman Solimani, Adviser to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Deputy Head of Organization for Culture and Islamic Communications, in his keynote address, identified four areas of cooperation between the Philippines and Iran, namely, (1) scientific exchange, (2) research action among the centers of science, (3) press media, and (4) cultural mutual exchange in cinema, music, and literature.
FSI Deputy Director-General Julio S. Amador III provided the synthesis of the conference and delivered the closing remarks. He noted that while there may have been challenges and bumps along the road, the general direction of the Philippines-Iran bilateral relationship is optimistically forward. The next 50 years of Philippine-Iran relations will be important as geopolitics and economic arrangements adjust to the rise of the Asia Pacific region. Both countries hope for more cooperation in socio-cultural activities, more investments and trade, and better diplomatic relations.
More than 500 people attended the conference, mainly students from schools and universities, representatives of government agencies, and members of the diplomatic corps.