Mr. Alexei Kral, Director of the Cultural Heritage Center, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, visited the University of Santo Tomas last December 12, 2019.? He is in-charge of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), which awards grants through US embassies in developing countries for the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects and collections, and forms of traditional expression, such as music and language. He was met by university officials, namely Dr. Lilian Sison (Director of International Relations and Programs), Fr. Isidro C. Aba?o, O.P. (Director of the UST Museum), Dr. Michael Anthony C. Vasco (Dean, Graduate School), Dr. Camilla J. Vizconde (Assistant Dean, Graduate School), and Assoc. Prof. Jocelyn Agcaoili (Director of the Center for Continuing Professional Education and Development). Dr. Eric Zerrudo, Director of CCCPET, presented the programs and projects of the Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and the Environment in the Tropics (GS CCCPET).

The CCCPET has been a recipient of two (2) US Embassy Grants for the capacity-building of cultural heritage workers. The first grant was on the Training Course on the Development of a Conservation Management Plan held in Iloilo City in 17-20 April 2018. A second iteration was a Capacity-Building Seminar on the Development of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) and Safeguarding Mechanism for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) held in Legaspi City, Albay last 21-27 February 2019. These continuing education specialist programs have been developed along with the Graduate School Center for Continuing Professional Education (CCPED).

The Center’s heritage programs have been recognized by the national agencies as strategies for societal development. Cultural mapping has been integrated in RA 10066 or the Heritage Law and in the DILG Seal of Good Local Governance. Capacity-building modules have been adopted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Trade and Industry-Design Center of the Philippines. Future projects have been endorsed to the US Embassy for grant support. These are the third iteration of the heritage awareness seminar workshop for local chief executives; the seminar on heritage sensitivity in construction for builders and contractors; the coalition of intangible cultural heritage carriers and curators, ?and the conference on the sites of memory and conscience.

Mr. Kral also visited the UST Library, where he met Prof. Regalado Trota Jose, MCH of the Archivo de la Unibersidad de Santo Tomas and Fr. Angel Aparicio, OP, Prefect of Libraries.

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