DUMAGUETE CITY – Silliman University (SU) partnered with the European Union (EU) delegation to the Philippines as the delegation’s regional partner in the Visayas for the first virtual European Higher Education Fair (EHEF 2020) held October 2 to 3 in the fair’s official website.

MAIN VISUAL Final 726x1024 - Silliman, EU delegation host virtual European Higher Education Fair
(Photos: SU-OIP/Melita Aguilar/ MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Dr. Warlito Caturay Jr., SU English and Literature Department faculty member and SU’s point person for EHEF 2020, the EU Delegation tapped SU for assistance in reaching out to the local community as a way of expanding the fair’s reach in the Visayas region.

“During the fair, Silliman was in charge of one structured webinar on Medicine and Allied Sciences,” added Caturay.

SU president Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann said that higher education institutions across countries need to join hands in the task of rebuilding amid the challenges of a post-pandemic world.

According to Thomas Wiersing, chargé-de-affaires of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, the EU agreed on organizing the annual fair online for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said 93 higher education institutions (EHEIs) from the EU participated in EHEF 2020 that included EHEIs in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the Slovak Republic, which is joining the fair for the first time.

“This situation has become an opportunity for us to maximize the digital platform.  By going virtual, we have more higher education institutions than ever presenting their programmes.  We also hope to have a higher number of participants,” Wiersing said.

Wiersing said the fair had 29 webinars full of concise information about course offerings, research programs, sponsorships, and mobility opportunities.  The fair included country presentations, live chat windows with EHEI representatives, virtual meeting rooms, and structured webinars to suit the information needs of students and university officials, all accessible through the EHEF 2020 website.

Aside from the shift to using digital platforms for the fair, Wiersing said EHEF 2020 strived to reach out to more people by engaging the support of several universities as “regional hubs,” including Silliman University.

Other universities assigned as regional hubs were Ateneo de Manila University in Metro Manila, Wesleyan University in Luzon and Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan in Mindanao.  Students explored opportunities for distance learning through the virtual fair, with many EHEIs offering 

“Through this fair, the EU likes to underscore the importance of mobility, innovation, people-to-people links, and lifelong learning. The fair was a one-stop-shop to know more about the EU and why the EU has such a reputation as a centre of excellence in learning worldwide,” said Wiersing.

Silliman is hosting the “Paglaum sa Panaghiusa” (Hope in Solidarity), a virtual poetry reading, to be streamed October 19, 2020 at the EU Delegation to the Philippines Facebook page. 

The event is part of the Bersong Europinoy, a multicultural event celebrating the literary heritage and talents of EU and the Philippines organized by the EU Delegation. 

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