Over the years, the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) takes pride in being the university of choice for its legacy—from being one of the oldest normal schools to other countless reasons.  This year, WMSU celebrates its 119th Foundation, and one of the highlights of the celebration is the international conference with the theme: “Conversations and Collaborations: The Ifugao and Bicol Archaeogical Projects.” This is a result of a series of meetings between WMSU and the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. 

The opening program was graced by the University President, Dr. Ma. Carla A. Ochotorena, Honorable Vice Mayor Josephine “Pin-Pin” Pareja, who represented the City Mayor.  Also present was CHED Executive Director, Atty. Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro and CHED Region V Chief Education Program Specialist, Ms. Rachel Casimero. Dr. Stephen B. Acabado, an Anthropology Professor who is also the Director, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and Chair, Archaeology IDP flew in with his team of presenters. Also in his team was Mr. Marlon Martin from the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement, Inc. Interdepartmental Program.  Some members of the Board of Regents such as Mr. Vicente “Teng” Locson, Dr. Ronald Abaa, and Mr. Dominic Rabara, were also present as they also witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The different vice presidents of the university were also present. The signing of MOU signifies the partnership between the two agencies for future collaborations.

The MOU aims to promote international academic cooperation and the exchange of students, teaching, and research experiences between UCLA, Department of Anthropology and Western Mindanao University (WMSU).The two universities will cooperate in developing friendship and mutual interests on a reciprocal basis, and to respect the independence and equal status of each university.

Both institutions agree to explore the development of the following types of activities: (a) Exchange academic materials and information; (b) Mutually receive educational visits by faculty members and researchers; (c) Exchange of graduate students; (d) Organization of joint conferences, symposia, or other scientific meetings on subjects of mutual interest; and (e) Engage in other activities to better enhance mutual understanding and collaboration.

The 3-day event was made possible through the Office of the President and the University Museum Office headed by Dr. Melanie F. Lear together with Asst. Professor Mark Francisco.