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Baker Fellow, Wiegand, Spends Semester in the Philippines

Time has really flown by since I arrived in January in the Philippines as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. Since I’ve been here in Manila, I have been busy conducting interviews, giving talks, meeting with really smart Philippine political scientists, international law specialists, and other scholars, and starting to write my next book, with my colleague Emilia Powell, about the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes. It would be too much to write about all the interviews and meetings I’ve had since I’ve been here, so I’ll give a sample from the last couple weeks. Three weeks ago, I traveled to Taiwan for an international conference and met some great people working on the South China Sea dispute too, and am looking forward to keeping in touch with them. That same week, I traveled to Brunei to meet with US Ambassador Carl Allen and the other embassy officials at the US Embassy there. We had a great exchange of ideas and discussion about the current state of the South China Sea dispute and they were interested to hear about my research in the Philippines. I also presented my research at the University of Brunei Darussalam Faculty of Social Sciences, and again, had an excellent discussion afterwards. Last week was a whirlwind of events that gives you an idea of what I’ve been doing in Manila. On Monday, I visited the Executive Offices of Malacańang, the Presidential Palace compound, to interview a former military chief of staff and director of the security cluster for the cabinet. On Tuesday, I gave a talk at the Department of Foreign Affairs, sponsored jointly by the Foreign Service Institute, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the National Defense College of the Philippines, where I spoke to diplomats and military officers about the South China Sea dispute, an issue of great concern to them. There I met with former and current secretaries of national defense, former and current ambassadors, former and current Senators and Congressmen, and other esteemed officials, with whom I had the great honor to speak. On Wednesday, I attended a private forum about fisheries in the South China Sea with embassy officials from the US, Australia, and Singapore, the former secretary of foreign affairs during the Aquino administration, former Senators and Congressmen, and other experts. That same day, I meet with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs for an interview about the international arbitration case and the Philippines’ relationship with China. On Thursday, I interviewed an international legal specialist at the University of the Philippines Law Center, then gave another talk at UP Asian Center to a great group of scholars, students, and alumni of the university, and met with former diplomats and scholars. Friday I gave another talk at my host university, De La Salle University, sponsored by the Department of International Studies, where I have been working the last few months. Today, I’m attending the opening session of the Senate. It has been very fruitful to conduct all the research I’ve done here, but now the challenge is organizing all of it and writing about the theories and results in papers and my next book. This is what I hope to do over the next few months before the fall semester starts in August back at UT.

Blog Post by Dr. Krista E. Wiegand

Manila, Philippines

May 2, 2017


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