For ENFiD leaders, members, relations and friends who were with us in Prague last September during the General Assembly, it is already known that the gathering had been a success. This is judging from the participation and enthusiasm of everyone present in discussions during the plenaries and the workshops as well as the side gatherings such as the concert and the exhibit of contemporary award-winning Filipino painters.
The success continues as more and more engagements of different ENFiD groups set to work in organizing various activities following some recommendations drawn at the Assembly.
But the first and most exciting news is the production of the first ever introductory video of ENFiD!!! For just a couple of minutes, an overview of what ENFiD is all about and what it does is captured here. We refer to it as our corporate video- then it sounds fancy J Today we launch this here coinciding with its premiere showing in Oslo where I am invited to speak in two ENFiD Norway events. More about these events further in this update letter. We are sending a copy of this video to all the Board Members and Country Representatives so they can use it in their activities.
Thanks to our PR/Communication and IT Team, who, at this very moment, are also working on a total revamp of our website which we plan to launch in the first quarter of next year.
A big and broad network such as ENFiD, it is always handy to have an organizational manual as a reference point for the policies, rules, code of ethics and the like. We have formed a Team who will make the formulation for this based on the existing drafts as discussed by the Board and at the General Assemblies.
The ENFiD Environment Team for example is moving to have a refined version of the working model of the biogas digester that was presented in Prague and which garnered support and encouragement to bring it to the next level.
The Arts & Culture Committee, enriched with new members at the Prague meeting, is also developing plans which will promote Euro-Pinoy performing and visual artists across Europe by 2017.
The Training and Learning Committee with its ENFiD Roving Academy has finalized the plans for a Leadership and Gender Development Training to be held in February 10-12 next year in Essen, Germany.
The Working Group of Euro-Pinoy Youth would be holding its first skype conference on December 9 to plan activities for 2017.
There was an input from the ENFiD Secretariat about Financial Literacy (FinLit) in Stockholm at the culminating activity of the Culture week and two more will be given in Oslo on November 26 and Stavanger on November 30, all sponsored by Western Union. These events provide for an interesting combination of entertainment and information which we like to refer to as infotainment. Incidentally, while in Norway, I will be meeting with Consul General Charmaine Rowena Aviquivil and some other Filipino community leaders there. And of course I will not let this opportunity pass without a meeting with ENFiD Norway! I’m looking forward to this trip.
And as early as now, ENFiD Germany is coordinating with the ENFiD Secretariat in planning the ENFiD conference on September 30-October 1, 2017. Consider this a preliminary invitation and save the date! Next year being the 5th anniversary of ENFiD will be a bigger event with a Euro-Pinoy Youth Forum and a General Assembly. It will traditionally be preceded by a joint meeting of the Board of Directors of ENFiD Europe and the Country Representatives.
All good news from ENFiD … well except for the fact that our continuing growth is also posing a challenge. As a volunteer organization, the little funds we have is draining fast. So we must be extra creative to be able to see through all the activities and future plans.
Yes, dear readers, while ENFiD is on a good track, I would say that this is not necessarily the case for many parts in the rest of the world we are now in…
Just like you, I am very concerned about the continuing polarization between the haves and the haves-not, the establishments and the people, the leaderships and the constituents, the native and the foreign and so forth.
The worsening feeling and experience of rejection, being left-out, and deprivation of a large part of the population both on the side of the elites and the common people is giving popularity and support to populist maneuvers and pronouncements of politicians (both in the right and left political spectrum) and their followers.
The world as we know it, which has allowed us to develop our thoughts and ideas and gives us a framework, is crumbling. We are living in a rapidly changing world pretty unheard of in the past, compounded by globalization and digitalization.
Globalization, which marks the open borders for freedom of movement for goods and people, and digitalization through increasing advancement of technological developments, marks the enormous spread of information. Information that is neither always reliable nor factual, and not nuanced to the point of being manipulated and emotionally colored into messages that are fuelled immediately into networked social media.
But even if they are reliable and factual, we are just so bombarded by information every second of the day that there is neither room nor space to process these information.
Globalization is being used by populists such as Trump in a derogatory manner while they espouse the call to advance their own people first (America first by Trump) and resort to protectionist stance, opposing the arrival of migrants and refugees.
Populism has by now become the name of the game. And whether in Europe, the Philippines or elsewhere, its features are similar. It brings with it anxiety and a search for easy answers because of increasing divide of economic gains – the few rich gets richer, the greater poor gets poorer. It also features, unease with cultural implications of an increasingly interconnected world. Thus the rise of racist and xenophobic attacks to migrants and moslims and those deemed different. Populism also features alienation from a self-serving political class that aligns with the wealthy at the expense of other tiers of society. People are desperate and feel that they need a forceful figure, a hero that will lead them in an increasing complex and difficult to understand world to topple the establishment that failed them.
Given this situation, we at ENFiD and the Euro-Pinoys in general, would be better off if we stay alert and invest individually or in groups to understand what’s happening around us. We should realize (and shouldn’t expect) that easy populistic messages would provide the answers to our problems.
It is sad to see that the exchanges among the Euro-Pinoys in social media, particularly in Facebook, are characterized by uncritical postings coupled with equally populist messages. When commenters provide contrary reaction especially if maliciously formulated to such postings, a chain of hateful defamatory exchanges occur. The resulting chain of hostility is not only confined between posters and commenters but an ensuing adversity, confusion and division to more readers happens.
Instead of engaging in healthy dialogues or debates on issues, even personalities that they deem important by posting informed materials, many are posting to provoke, insult or derogate others whose opinion are different from theirs. How populist can one get!
I hope netizens would realize how divisive indiscriminate postings can be. This might sound cliché but let me remind everyone of the wisdom behind the expression “agree to disagree”.
With so many uncertainties in the world, now, more than ever, is the time to act on building and strengthening the Filipino diaspora community in Europe. With a “new story” of the world unfolding, and at the risk of sounding a New Age guru,
I call for everyone to be more open and understanding and empathetic and respectful to the others. To work on healing and regeneration instead of destruction. To engage in restoration of faith in the world, in ourselves, in the future. We all owe it to ourselves and to everyone and everything we hold dear.
As 2016 is moving towards its end, and this being the last issue of News & Views for this year, allow me to wish you all a memorable Christmas season and a peaceful blessed transition to the New Year.
Rohlee de Guzman
ENFiD Executive Director