The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR), in partnership with De La Salle University, officially launched the 2015 HPAIR Asia Conference last January 22 at the 5th Floor of the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall.
The HPAIR Asia Conference is an annual 5-day event with various activities such as plenaries, workshops, and case studies. It aims to bridge the gap between the east and west and gain a better understanding on the various social, economic, political, and cultural issues.
Jonathan Beltran, the executive director of the Manila Team for the conference, shared that before they decided on bidding for the university to hold the conference, they needed to brush up on HPAIR by being part of the event themselves.
For the past few years, they sent three to five delegates to the conferences, and as many as 20 in last year’s Tokyo conference. After participating in these events, Beltran and his team began working on a bid book since 2013. A 300-page document, the book contains all the necessary details for the event.
“You have to seek the university, why to choose Manila, why De La Salle University, what type of sponsors you can get, what venue, the schedule. Very, very detailed,” Beltran explained.
First time’s the charm
The upcoming conference serves as the second time the Philippines will host the conference. The first time was back in 1994, where the country co-hosted the event.
Artur Meller, executive director of this year’s conference, says that Manila’s growth serves as one of the key factors for having the event take place in the Philippines.
As for the choice of having DLSU as host, Meller said that the strong bidding efforts of the Manila team were what convinced them. He added that the university’s reputation also came to play in their deliberations.
Beltran believed that it was their ambitious approach to the event that made them stood out among other potential candidates. “I really made it a point that there is this sense of innovation with the conference. That is why we proposed more intensive case studies which are happening actually for the conference.”
He furthered that the simplicity of their bid may have given them an advantage, as well as stressing the commitment of their team to their previous socio-civic activities. “We showed them our projects for Gawad Kalinga and how dedicated we are to community solving and helping the communities.”
The conference is scheduled to take place later this year, from August 20-24 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.