The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) conducted the Cultural Officers’ Course (CuOC) online from 05 to 14 October 2020. The Course was designed for foreign service personnel who will be assigned and/or identified to assume Cultural Officer duties and responsibilities at the Foreign Service Posts.

Twenty-six (26) DFA personnel participated in CuOC, which was conducted through synchronous sessions via Google Meet. Five (5) of these personnel were from the Department’s Consular Offices (COs) in La Union, Cagayan de Oro, NCR East and Northeast, and Mindanao.

Foreign service personnel are mandated by law (Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991) to promote and preserve Philippine culture, arts, and products at Posts. As representatives of the Philippines abroad, they must be able to articulate the country’s positions in national and international issues, as well as make people of other countries appreciate Filipino culture. The Course provides training for these personnel to equip them and to develop their skills to fulfill their role in promoting and managing culture-related activities, events, and programs.

The Course’s Resource Persons introduced the participants to the role of Cultural Diplomacy in the Philippine foreign policy, the cultural institutions and organizations that advance it, and the functions of Cultural Officers at Post. There were sessions on geography, ethno-linguistic groups, religion and spirituality, traditions, dance, music, tabletop games, food, and furniture. 

As part of the requirements of the Course, the participants—who were grouped into three—applied the knowledge and skills they learned in cultural event planning by crafting cultural event plan proposals, which were presented to critics via Google Meet. Honorable Teresita V.G. Barsana, former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil, Colombia, Suriname, and Portugal, and Ms. Monika Kamille B. Limpo of the Department’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination served as critics.

CuOC culminated in virtual museum tours at the National Art Gallery, the Museum of the Filipino People, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. The virtual museum tours can be accessed through links at the National Museum’s website and feature a 360-degree tour of the Museum’s art galleries with works by notable Filipino artists, Juan Luna, Guillermo Tolentino, Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco, and Isabelo Tampinco.

Acting Assistant Secretary Jesusa Susana Paez (fourth row, first tile) of DFA Office
of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, discusses the role
of Cultural Diplomacy in the Philippine foreign policy.
Ms. Monika Kamille Limpo (fourth row, first tile) from the DFA Office of Policy Planning
and Coordination poses for a picture with CuOC participants.