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Education and Home

GT-Toyota Asian Center to showcase Asia's rich heritage

Patricia Estevez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Furthering its aim to become a cultural and policy hub of intellectual and cultural exchanges in the Philippines and Asia, University of the Philippines (UP) and Toyota Motors Philippines last Thursday inaugurated a P100 million, one-hectare complex that houses the GT-Toyota Hall of Wisdom and the GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium.

“The University is now in the process of establishing a research institute for the study of relevant national and regional issues. The GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center will help us attain our vision to be a cultural and policy hub of intellectual and cultural exchanges in the Philippines and Asia,” UP President Emerlinda Roman said.

Designed by renowned architect Jose Pedro Recio, the facilities hope to be a venue to “showcase the rich heritage of Asia and provide perspective on the global role that it plays in the 21st century.”

A melting pot of cultures

“These structures will become landmarks in the university and more importantly, a melting pot of cultures,” said TMP chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty during the inauguration ceremonies.

“Clearly, this knowledge becomes necessary as Asia plays a more prominent role in the global area. It is my hope that through GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center, the scholars and researchers from different nations shall have a better understanding of our heritage and identity as a people,” Ty noted.

The center consists of two sleek and modern buildings — the two-storey, multi-purpose GT Toyota Hall of Wisdom for the Asean Center’s library, museum and research offices and the 500-seat GT Toyota-Asian center auditorium, a state of the art facility with audio-visual equipment including a simultaneous interpretation system for multi-lingual conferencing.

The project started in March 2008 and was developed by former UP- Asian Center Dean Dr. Aileen Baviera as part of the Asian Center’s UP Centennial fund-raising activities.

“Last year, UP celebrated its centennial and we were in a fund-rasing mod. The center was a matching of what we needed and what Toyota wanted to support,” Baviera said in an interview.

The GT – Toyota Asian Cultural Center is the largest private donation received by UP in its centennial year.

“The museum boasts of four exhibit walls where aside from displaying the ethnographic collection of the Asian Center pioneered in the 1970s by famed anthropologist and now professor emeritus F. Landa Jocano, future activities will showcase the rich and diverse arts and cultures of Asia. An audio-visual room, computer room, and seminar rooms complement the research and library facilities.

Baviera said the new library which now houses UP’s collection of 50,000 volumes on Asian studies, will make studying more conducive to students.

“ We have an existing library at the old building but we have transferred the collection here, so students will expect a better facility. More users other than the students of Asian Center can use the library. We have a collection of artifacts, art collection for a long time but have no space to display, now that we have a space for displaying the artifacts of Chinese culture, Korea, Japanese, India, Asia focus on RP studies,” Baviera said.

“We also have research activities because of the new facilities, with this, we hope to attract more intellectual linkages and collaborative research,” Baviera added.

“The building itself is very valuable but it will just be a springboard for the programs we hope to see in the future,” she said.

Ty agrees.

Venue for cultural exchange

“The GT Toyota Hall of Wisdom shall be a venue for cultural exchange, giving life to new ideas, research and advanced studies, while learning will be further enhanced through international conferences that will be held at the GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium. I look forward to greater understanding among people of various nations that these facilities will make possible,” Ty said during the inauguration.

At the inauguration, Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota Motor Corp. vice-chairman, said he believes in UP as an education institution.

“Time and again, University of the Philippines has consistently proven itself as a model of excellence in education for more than a century now. I would like to commend UP for maintaining its quality of education and for its relentless drive to be one of the leading learning institutions in the Asia Pacific region. Most of its graduates have become leaders in their own fields and are respected not only in the Philippines but also around the world,” said Watanabe.

ASIAN

ASIAN CENTER

BAVIERA

CENTER

CULTURAL

TOYOTA

TOYOTA ASIAN CULTURAL CENTER

TOYOTA HALL OF WISDOM

TY

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