Malu Cadelina Manar, also writer of the Davao City-based online MindaNews, is the only delegate from the Philippines to attend this year in the East-West Center's senior journalists' seminar. The training will focus on building understanding between the United States and the Asian Muslim World.
The 2007 Senior Journalists Seminar will take place from May 6 to 26 and participated in by journalists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, and the United States.
Manar was nominated to the program by fellow journalist Carlos Conde, an alumnus of the East-West Center's program. In his nomination, Conde, also editor of the online DavaoToday.com told the Center that he had known Manar to be a "conscientious and ethical journalist working for regional and national newspapers and radio stations."
Manar, a Christian, has been working as a reporter in Cotabato, a predominantly Muslim region in Mindanao and continuously wrecked by armed conflict. She earlier went to Australia with five others in 2006 in the second batch of Mindanao fellows attending a short course on conflict-resolution and peace journalism in Sydney University.
"Her attempts to plumb the depths of the issues in the south have even put her life and her family in danger. But that did not stop her from pursuing her profession," said Conde.
Abigail Sines, program specialist at the East-West Center, said that seminar is "a dialogue, travel and exchange program aimed at fostering greater understanding among these Asian countries and the United States."
The 2007 study tour will include stops in Washington, D.C.; New York City; and Detroit, Michigan.
In Washington, D.C., the program will focus on the U.S. legislative and foreign policy-making processes. In New York City participants will visit a major national news outlet and look at the post-9/11 recovery and rebuilding of the city. In Detroit, participants will
meet with American Muslim groups and interfaith dialogue groups, visit local media outlets, and gain exposure to broader U.S. social issues and perspectives.
The study tour will begin and conclude at the East-West Center in Honolulu where the Asian journalists will meet with American journalists.
Participant-led discussions during these sessions will focus on the political and cultural challenges journalists face in reporting on contemporary Asia-U.S. relations.
The East-West Center is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States.
Its website,www.eastwestcenter.org says the Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous, and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education, and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States.
Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.