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DFA and Metrobank Foundation ink partnership to enhance cultural diplomacy

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in partnership with the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) launched “DiplomART: Cultural Diplomacy through Philippine Visual Arts” through the initialling of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by DFA Undersecretary Laura del Rosario and MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña last October 25, 2011 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library, DFA, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City. The occasion was graced by DFA secretary Hon. Albert del Rosario and Metrobank Group and Metrobank Foundation chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty and other key officials of both institutions. A ribbon cutting ceremony was also held that unveiled an exhibit of winning artworks within the 27 years of the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) competitions. It included winning art pieces by former MADE winners—Roberto Feleo, Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, Mark Justinioni, Jan Leeroy who are now established names in the art industry.

MBFI is the first private sector to partner with the DFA for its Cultural Diplomacy Program aimed at establishing, developing, and sustaining foreign relations through culture, arts, and education. To highlight the undertaking, art lectures were conducted at the DFA by noted historian and 2006 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Teacher Dr. Ambeth Ocampo discussing the topic “Searching for the Lost Eden, History, Culture and Nationhood” and art critic and 2011 MADE Painting Competition judge Mr. Cid Reyes discussing the topic “Public Domain, Private Hell: A Study of Images in Philippine Contemporary Visual Art and Sculpture”. These art lectures were attended by DFA officers, cultural attaches and future ambassadors that will represent the Philippines in their respective foreign posts.

“We at the Metrobank Foundation are grateful for this partnership with the DFA.  Through DiplomART, we hope that we are able to contribute in strengthening the cultural diplomacy program of the department. Exhibiting the exquisite works of our Filipino visual artists and providing opportunities for further learnings on Philippine art and culture is an expression of our corporate social responsibility that aims to enrich the soul of our nation through art and excellence.” said MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña.

In his message, DFA secretary Hon. Albert del Rosario stressed the importance of the promotion of culture in the development of our nation. “DFA recognizes the impact of culture on the conduct of modern diplomacy and sees it as an effective tool in protecting our national interest, in advancing our advocacies and in achieving the development agenda of the country in the international arena,” he said. Secretary del Rosario recently signed Department Order No. 15-11 which formalizes the creation of the Cultural Diplomacy Unit of the Department ensuring that cultural promotions form part of the conduct and initiatives of the DFA personnel here and abroad.

“We celebrate this cultural cooperation with Metrobank Foundation. This partnership, we hope, will not only allow our personnel to take note of the developments in the world of arts – as new and upcoming Filipino artists are constantly being discovered by Metrobank – but will give rise to future events and initiatives that will inspire us to showcase to the world, the glorious, unique and beautiful Filipino culture,” Secretary del Rosario added.

Aside from supporting young artists and designers through the annual MADE competition, MBFI continues to support Philippine art education through the conduct of art lectures with topics focusing on the role of Philippine arts and culture in nation building that have materialized through the competition’s winning artworks. Consistent with its mission - vision, MBFI engages in private - public sector partnerships empowering not only its stakeholders but also partners in the government sector.