By Betsy von Atzigen, Switzerland
The 1st General Assembly of ENFid-Swiss took place on February 6th, 2016 in Zürich three months after its official launch. FILcom Leaders representing 4 Swiss Cantons originally formed the network and to date, 6 more Cantons have come to participate bringing it to a total of 10 Cantons, strengthening both number and capacity. It seeks to connect with Filipinos living in all 26 Swiss Cantons in future Assemblies.
ENFID-Swiss is grateful and delighted with the active participation of Minister and Consul General Ms. Maria Theresa S.M. Lazaro and Ms. Joanne Tecson, Information Officer of the Philippine Embassy in Berne. ENFiD Swiss has just begun yet emboldened by the generous and enthusiastic support of ENFiD-EU Board of Director / IT Ms Marison Rodriguez who travelled from Czech Republic to strengthen the Assembly alongside the invaluable inputs of ENFiD-EU Executive Director Ms. Rohlee de Guzman and Chairperson Mr. Gene Alcantara.
Ms. Betsy von Atzigen, ENFiD-EU elected member of the Board (Aug 2015, Malta) representing Switzerland and responsible for Learning and Development sent out early on the General Assembly Agenda consisting of ENFiD Board approved 2Year Action Plan (2YAP) for 2016-17. These are Empowerment of the Euro-Pinoy YOUTH, Education and Training of FILcom Leaders & Members, Elevating Philippine ARTS & CULTURE and Embracing the ENVIRONMENT.
The 1st General Assembly opened with leaders in red paper hats singing a choreographed rock beat `This Enfid Light of Mine,‘ an ice breaker then prayer. Betsy gave a brief ENFiD-EU background, the 2YAP PPT presentation, and reinforced by Marison’s introduction. Then the Assembly smoothly re-grouped according to interests for discussion, agreement and reporting.
1. THE YOUTH
Foremost in ENFiD plan is the development of a new crop of YOUTH Leaders within the Euro-Pinoy community with strong connection to the Philippines. The 1.5 and 2nd generation Euro-Pinoys have long been kept on the sidelines, somehow lost their Pinoy identity and time has indeed come for their STAR to shine. Spokesperson for the Youth Group Ms. Lenny Bugayong, founder and prime mover of Noi-P CH called for a collaboration among existing youth groups where leadership, development trainings and workshops are organized. One suggested that while Turkish children go to Saturday language school, our youth could also learn Filipino. Language is relevant, so are culture and arts. All these suggestions are in line with ENFiD plan but need a sustained structure to accomplish.
One exciting ENFiD Youth aim which requires funding is the 4-Week community and cultural exposure program to the Philippines that includes integration with tribal groups, volunteer work with projects on women and children, courtesy calls with Local Government Units (LGU’s) and national government offices. To cap the 2YAP for the Youth, ENFiD-Swiss will endeavor to send its leaders to the Euro-Pinoy Youth Forum alongside the 2017 ENFiD European Regional Conference.
Do FILcom leaders truly value our Euro-Pinoy Youth, identify their place in Pinoy/Swiss society and prepare them for leadership roles? We await you as Partners in addressing the needs of our Youth.
2. EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The 2nd Group enthusiastically embraced ENFiD-Swiss’ aim to strengthen FILcom leaders and members in implementing projects and activities through education and training. Newly nominated and elected Media and Communications Head Pastor Ronald reported the outcome of the group discussion points, highlighting Gender and Development Training (GAD) wherein talks between the Philippine Embassy and ENFiD Swiss have already begun. Details of the plan will be announced once finalized. Other training programs on offer by ENFiD are Social Remittances Seminar, Financial Literacy, Conflict Management, Project Management of Development Projects, Organizational Strengthening Seminars and other Capacity- building Seminars.
Equally important in this group are the current Advocacies which ENFiD and the Philippine Embassy share on Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) and the West-Philippine Sea (WPS). Minister and ConGen Lazaro announced to the Assembly the Embassy’s plan to hold Information Sessions on these themes. She mentioned that overseas voters’ ballots will arrive by Post earlier than the scheduled national elections and the Info Drive would help voters understand the election process better and the West-Philippine Sea issue. Details to be disseminated shortly.
Are FILcom Leaders convinced of the benefits of Education, Training and Info dissémination on pressing Philippine issues? To participate & share with members, follow ther Announcements!
3. ELEVATE PHILIPPINE ARTS and CULTURE
The 3rd Group, the biggest and most excited of all tackled a deeply interesting topic which is the promotion of quality Filipino artists within the community through Concerts, Art Exhibitions, Movie Screenings in a Filipino Fiesta setting, highlighting Filipino dishes, decors and traditional games.
Antoine Gardien and Pekz Llamoso presented the group’s plan to hold an Open Air Filipino Food Festival in 2016, forerunner of a bigger 2017 Festival, to be hosted by volunteer Filipinos, showcasing a range of Filipino entertainment: performing and the visual arts, children’s traditional games, sale of exotic goods, and display of culture to an audience of 4000 mainly European guests and their families. Sponsorships here play a very important role.
ConGen Lazaro mentioned that the Philippine Embassy has plans to celebrate in 2017 the 60th year of diplomatic relations with the host country and has already identified the venue.
Antoine further talked about the grand Filipino Family Festival in 2017, probably on the last Saturday of June, on a more ambitious scale to 14,000 Swiss/European guests and their families. Major sponsorships to be solicited from the Swiss local Gemeinde or communities. Swiss-based Filipino performing artists, visual artists and others will be invited to showcase their unique talents. A tentative venue has been identified in a large open area in Berne.
Additionally, Antoine suggested a compilation of Swiss-based Filipino Artists’ database, a directory and a Coffee Table Book and these be promoted to all Swiss museums and Auction their Art work. Are you an artist living in Switzerland? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Evelyn Vargas-Knaebel, PETA member, actress, film producer and director is willing to organize a special film segment for ENFiD.
Betsy’s add on: ENFiD Swiss is supporting ENFiD EU’s Ambassador of Goodwill FilAm Stephanie Reese, worldclass Filipino singer/ performer and amazing French-based concert pianist John Florencio to perform in concert in the planned Festival while promoting Swiss-based Filipino artists/performers. A coordination meeting between ENFiD, the Embassy and key players/organizations is necessary for this huge project.
ConGen Lazaro of Philippine Embassy in Berne, Antoine, Evelyn and Betsy, discussion is now open.
4. EMBRACE THE ENVIRONMENT
The 4th Group of Environment loyaltistas led by Sis Imelda Wollenveider passionately discussed their concern for protecting the environment back home. In converting knowledge of the issue of global warming into concrete actions, the group came up with feedback on projects that have been introduced but may be struggling to succeed and considering new projects that may work.
They also recognized the huge project that ENFID EU has proposed: the Syngas Plasma Reactor (SPR) a machine which converts all-waste (bio-waste, glass, plastic, water, metal, etc.) into gas, energy, purified water but also the wind turbines, desalination machines and carbon capturing and recycling machine. ENFiD believes that the SPR technology will be an effective solution to the waste disposal problem in the Philippines while producing clean energy to supply many households. This is a huge project of ENFiD EU wherein Switzerland is welcome to participate.
Antoine suggested that Switzerland is an expert in water, paper, waste recycling and may have the used machineries and technology transfer capacity.
Do FILcom Leaders have any contacts with Swiss technical experts on recycling and protecting the environment? Your referral is highly appreciated. Please email us @ email@example.com
The Gen Assembly concluded with decisive Plan sketches and await groups to map out details in an Action Plan. A recognition and awarding of ENFiD Swiss Group FB favourite Christmas Holiday Photos and Filipino Artists’ paintings concluded the afternoon. Kudos to Mary Jane Hug, Art Gallery organizer and newly elected Secretary / Youth Leader who pursued her own passion for Art and the Artists !
ENfiD Swiss Betsy von Atzigen generously thanked a very welcoming venue sponsor Pastor Ronald Nolasco Duro and Community, Philippine Embassy Representatives Ms Lazaro and Ms Tecson, ENFiD EU guest Ms Marison Rodriguez, Prize Donors Mr & Ariel Funa of Megaworld Prague, warm & willing FilCom Leaders and Members from 10 Cantons who found ENFiD-Swiss worthy of partnership for the genuine benefit of our Kabataan at Kababayan.
Kudos to an amazingly selfless, hardworking and fun-loving ENFiD Swiss Team Leaders worth mentioning here: CountryReps Jing Mamaril (ZH) & Eppie Balagasay (ZH), Deputy CountryRep Joanna Wennstroem (AG), Secretary Mary Jane Hug (AG), Treasurer Marissa Duss (Winterthur), Membership Head Virgie Holliger (AG), Events Head Imelda Wollenweider (Winterthur), Media Communications Ptr Ronald Duro (ZH), ENFiD Writer Lily C. Fen (ZH) and ENFiD EU/Switzerland Director Learning & Development Betsy von Atzigen (SG).
Here’s an invitation to FILcom Leaders from the Swiss-French/Italian Cantons to join our ENFiD Swiss Leadership Group For comments, feedback, questions Email firstname.lastname@example.org