The Past is Always Ahead of Us:
Empowering Indigenous and Minority Leaders
in the Southern Philippines

This proposal, entitled “The Past Is Always Ahead of Us: Empowering Indigenous and Minority Leaders in the Southern Philippines”, is submitted by the International Training Office (ITO) of Northern Illinois University (NIU) and seeks to build on our on-going partnership with the International Visitors Program Philippines Alumni Foundation (IVP-PHILS.) and a new partnership with Tuklas Katutubo, a non-profit organization of young indigenous tribal leaders in the Philippines.

We intend to offer 24 young leaders (community leaders, NGOs, educators, youth influencers, journalists, religious leaders) from indigenous and minority communities a three-week institute to engage them in learning about a range of programs that facilitate the integration of minority populations in the Philippines and the U.S. We will recruit applicants from individuals who work with youth groups or are in a position to influence the next generation throughout the southern Philippines—aiming toward a diversity of ethnic and religious minority leaders.

The 24 finalists will be divided into two batches, with two follow-on seminars in the Philippines that will include 10 U.S. mentors who have been involved in the NIU training institute. The 20-month project began in September 2009 and end in April 2011. Its major goals are to:

  • promote mutual partnerships between key professional groups in the U.S. and counterparts in the Philippines through exchanges and dialogue;
  • transform individual understanding of issues related to ethnic/racial and religious diversity and the integration of minority and immigrant populations (particularly the youth) into a modern democratic society;
  • create a cadre of young Filipino leaders from minority communities with a strong sense of civic responsibility and commitment to strengthening civil society.

Project Director: Dr. Sue Russell
Co-Project Director: Dr. Lina Davide-Ong
Award Amount: $350,000
Project Period: Sept. 18, 2009 – April 30, 2011