Evening of friendship
Women’s Diplomatic Series (WDS) Young Professionals Group chairperson Jenna Russo.
Evening of friendship
THIS WEEK ON PEOPLEASIA - Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2020 - 12:00am

I had the opportunity to engage with members of the Women’s Diplomatic Series (WDS), a “by invitation-only” non-profit organization headed by Laura Elsey as president, through an event dubbed “An Evening of Culture, Conversations and Career.”

Held at the Carlos P. Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy, the event is in alignment with one of the programs of WDS known as the Global Citizen Cultural Series where the members get to discover the diversity of countries represented in the US capital through deep-dive discussions on a country’s history, art and culture, the people, business and educational opportunities, tourism, and its bilateral relationship with the United States. 

Founded in 2009, the WDS aims to help its members gain better understanding of other cultures and become better-informed global citizens through dialogues and partnerships with the different diplomatic communities in Washington, DC.

Following my brief remarks was a Q&A session that delved on topics that ranged from the lighthearted to the more serious.

I was pleased to share the Philippines’ foreign policy as an independent nation that is a friend to all the countries in the world. I gave the audience the “big picture” regarding US-Philippines relations that has been in existence for over seven decades, with both countries mutually benefiting with regard to security and in terms of economic, socio-cultural and environmental aspects. A key pillar of the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Philippines is the deep people-to-people ties, with an estimated four million Filipino-Americans now living and working in the US.

I also gave them a background on how I became a diplomat and the close connections I was able to develop with Americans and US establishments over the years, having finished high school in New York and having lived for some time in both the East and West coasts.

A highlight of the evening was the ceremonial turnover of the donation to the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption by the WDS. The donation, which was coursed through the Philippine Red Cross Batangas Chapter, is one more manifestation of the strong friendship as well as the goodwill and solidarity that exists between Filipinos and Americans.

Over 2,000 homes were destroyed by the fury of Taal. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, more than 328 houses were totally damaged, most of which are located at Volcano Island and other villages near the danger zone. About 135,000 families or roughly half a million individuals have also been displaced, with damage to infrastructure and agriculture in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna estimated at P3.4 billion.

 

WOMEN’S DIPLOMATIC SERIES
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