Wednesday, December 17, 2008

conspiracy dream

A few days before going to Gensan for a christmas break, I checked out a place on Visayas Ave. (QC, Manila) called Conspiracy. This place is a movie in my mind for so long, until my cool nanay reminded me to really go there... The place is co-owned by musicians Joey Ayala, Gary Granada, Noel Cabangon, Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua and more than 90 other investors: writers, college professors, NGO workers. As most 'welgistas' know, one of the hallmarks of these artists is politics. But love songs can be a real thrill for starters...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

13th DEGIT : A Success!

UST-SRC hosts International Conference DEGIT - XIII

The Social Research Center of the University of Sto. Tomas with the Copenhagen Business School Department of Economics and the Kiel Institute for the World Economy hosts the 13th conference on Dynamics, Economic Growth and International Trade. The conference was held at Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, University of Sto. Tomas, Manila Philippines on November 18 and19, 2008.

More than thirty (30) economists and researchers from the country and abroad submitted papers for presentation focusing on the patterns and implications of international trade and foreign direct investment in a growing world economy, as well as the conditions under which nations benefit from regional economic integration. Papers on other specialized topics, such as agricultural integration, agricultural policy and food security, natural resource economics and environmental issues were also presented.

The 2-day program started with an introduction from Alvin Ang, Director of UST-SRC and welcome remarks from the UST Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Clarita Carillo. Bjarne S. Jensen of University of Southern Denmark and Copenhagen Business School gave a short response in behalf of the DEGIT organizers.

During the plenary, close to a hundred participants listened to the keynote speeches on Regional Economic Integration in Asia by Giovanni Capannelli of Asian Development Bank and Denise Konan of University of Hawaii. Hirofumi Uzawa of Research Institute of Capital Formation Development Bank of Japan, Tokyo also gave a presentation on Global Warming, Imputed Prices and Sustainable Development.

The presenters were toured to the University Museum at the end of the day 1. It was coupled with a Conference Dinner with inspiring presentations from international artists Renato Lucas, Rolando Reyes and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe.

In the 2nd day of the conference, plenary presentations and discussions revolved around various topics Imelda Revilla-Molina of International Rice Research Institute presented Improvement of Technical Efficiency in Rice Planting while Rainer Klump of Goethe University Frankfurt discussed Biased Technological Change in Agriculture. This session was followed by presentations on Stochastic Dynamics of Economic Growth,Trade and Finance Models by Partha Chatterjee of National University of Singapore and Bjarne S. Jensen of University of Southern Denmark and Copenhagen Business School . The afternoon plenary was about the Global Financial Crisis with Evelyn R. Santos of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Wick Veloso of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation as Resource Speakers.

There were a total of nine Parallel Sessions in the conference. Topics were on Firms, Innovation and Productivity, Trade Patterns, Aid and Growth, Environment and Agriculture , Agglomeration, and Dynamic Models among others. The event ended with presenters and participants having a chance to network and discuss on a cocktail party.

The said conference is a sequel to twelve previous conferences with the same theme held in Denmark (1996), Hong Kong (1997), Taiwan (1998), Tilburg (1999), Rome (2000), Vienna (2001), Cologne (2002), Helsinki (2003), Reykjavik (2004), Mexico City (2005), Jerusalem (2006) and Melbourne (2007).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

an email from dr. alvin ang as he turned 40

This year America is celebrating Thanksgiving Day on my birthday, 27 November! They have made my birthday special as millions are celebrating with me. This year is also doubly special for me as I am celebrating my 40th birthday.

As a young boy of 11, my father died and my mother just turned 40 years old then. I heard many people consoling my mother and telling her life begins at 40. As I reach that age today, I do not believe that life begins at 40. Nonetheless, I still see 40 as an important year to remember. It is a milestone that needs to be "monumented." I see the age 40 from the perspective of how God shaped Moses to be the leader of His people. Moses lived up to 120 years old, Deuteronomy 34:7 says – "Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone." His life is a model of how God can shape our direction and purpose.

Like Moses, I see the first 40 years of my life as preparation. Moses encountered the Lord in the burning bush after he turned 40. The first 40 years was preparation for the big rescue that he was to lead. Similarly for us, God has allowed different situations and conditions these past 40 years (for those of you above it) to ensure that we are ready for the big work. This does not mean that before 40 we did not do what He wanted, it is simply a shift of phase and further deepening, a better focus, a mature heart and a special way of understanding of things and situations.

Most of us have invested time and resources to build up our earthly positions before 40. In my birthday devotion today, the Lord led me to the verse above – the second phase or the second forty years, the focus is no longer on the discovering the relationship with God with the bias for the self, but a deepening of the relationship with God with a bias for others. This means that life with God has phases instored for us to discover. He does not make it monotonous. He makes sure that we enjoy every minute of it. The verse above tells me that I have completed a phase of preparation, now – I must no longer worry about building for myself, I must now start building and expanding for Him. Moses led the Israelites during the next 40 years of his life. These years were the time he was used by God to do great and mighty miracles – most of all these years were the time he personally saw and experience God. What an exciting time!

The next 40 years will mean also a time of preparing the next generation – my sons – to be the Solomons of their generation, to build God's kingdom in their lives. This is also a time to build up the body of Christ by being a mentor to others – friends, relatives and people in my influence. This is also a time to re-enliven and refresh my relationship with my wife and allowing God to bring it to new heights.

I would like to end by saying that God gave me a wonderful gift this day as His affirmation for the next 40 years. You see I am typing this letter in a hotel room in Hanoi, Vietnam fronting the West Lake. God brought me here for an all expenses paid conference to have a lakeview experience with Him. I actually dreamed of having a big thanksgiving party for this day. God made it possible with a hundred people in attendance in a beautiful hotel and an evening dinner cruise in the West Lake of Hanoi! Allow me to thank you for being a part of my first 40 years, I am sure that you will very well be in the next 40 years. Friends, my prayer is that we will all see our phase in life according to God's plan. I am looking forward to enjoying Him for the next 40 years so I can enjoy everything He has given me! Come, join me!