The Mindanao Studies Center traces its roots from the initial plans of the University to create a Mindanao Studies Program (MSP) in 1999, which was first considered during the term of Chancellor Rogelio V. Cuyno. Prof. Heidi K. Gloria, the chair of the Department of Social Sciences (DSS), proposed to gather scholars in Mindanao to a national/international conference which did not materialize due to logistical difficulties. In 2001, Chancellor Ricardo M. de Ungria formalized the Mindanao Studies Consortium Foundation Inc. (MSCFI) with funding from the Toyota Foundation. Four years later, the consortium published the Annotated Bibliography of Mindanao Studies.
In 2008, the UP System encouraged UP Mindanao to further develop its Mindanao Studies Program under Chancellor Gilda C. Rivero. CHSS faculty members started developing the MSP by conducting an inventory of the research and creative works of its faculty members. In that year, the UP Mindanao submitted the first MSP proposal to Pres. Emerlinda R. Roman focusing on: 1) culture and the arts, and 2) the peace process. The following year, the CHSS created an Ad Hoc committee that crafted and submitted a proposal on Mindanao Arts and Culture Program (MaCP) under the MSP.
Several workshops were conducted in 2010 to develop the Mindanao Studies Program. Two vital findings emerged particularly on the: 1) identification of the Mindanao 2020 Framework; and 2) the Davao Region Studies. In the Mindanao 2020 Framework, different priorities were identified such as (a) Peace agenda, (b) Governance, Human and Environment, (c) Human Upliftment and Strength for Cohesion, and (d) Enabling Environment. Based on these priorities, the CHSS met to finalize the MSP framework, agreeing on the Davao Region Studies as its short-term focus while the long-term plan is to cover the entire island of Mindanao. The Davao Region Studies emphasized the bio-cultural and bio-regional approach with priority themes on Lumad Studies, Urban Studies, Urban Planning, Literature and Arts, and Indigenous Games. The second proposal was submitted to Pres. Emerlinda R. Roman in May 2010.
The Mindanao Studies Program (MSP) was anchored on the ecology of faculty members in terms of their disciplinal specializations, research publications, and engagements. However, the Mindanao Studies Program did not materialize due to several reasons including the lack of coordination among assigned individuals, limited budget, and lack of personnel to ensure its implementation. Moreover, the MSP seems to depend on the agenda and priorities of each administration. The fast turn-over of faculty members and academic responsibilities in the College may have also contributed to the delay in the establishment of the MSP.
Building-on and learning from the previous experiences in crafting the MSP, the Mindanao Studies Center (MSC) aims to create a regional studies center that draws its strength from the academic offerings, research and publication, and public engagement of the CHSS. The Mindanao Studies Center is inspired by its locality including its peoples, history, arts, and expressive cultures, which are potential sources of conflicting images and realities of Mindanao. Unlike the MSP where the only focus is in research and publication, the MSC has three thrusts namely, academic, research and publication, and public engagement. The MSC is in a position to facilitate and impact discussions, conversations, programs, and policies and contribute to forwarding social justice and advancing the conservation and protection of cultural heritage in Mindanao.
The Mindanao Studies Center will:
- Develop research on various disciplines focusing on expressive cultures and peoples of Mindanao;
- Disseminate research outputs in various venues;
- Facilitate trainings with local practitioners;
- Advance the conservation and protection of cultural heritage in Mindanao; and
- Advocate social justice.
Mission & Vision
The Mindanao Studies Center upholds active involvement in academic, research, and public engagements by contributing to the repository of knowledge through providing venues for conversations, debates, and discussions; facilitating programs and trainings; and establishing relationships with relevant institutions and agencies.
A university center of Mindanao expressive cultures and its peoples that advances diverse approaches to academic, research, and discursive engagements responsive to local and global issues affecting class, ethnicity, gender, and the environment.
a. Instruction: As the MSC identifies Mindanao as its locale and draws its strength in the academic offerings of each Department, the MSC will be instrumental in strengthening the academic programs and offerings in the University that are responsive to Mindanao realities. The MSC will facilitate the Departments and the College in instituting General Education (GE) subjects with interdisciplinary approaches, implement collaborative academic projects, and utilize academic program improvement. The MSC and the Departments have complementary roles.
b. Research and Publication: The center will pursue interdisciplinary research projects and lead the discussion on Mindanao through research forums, institutionalized brown bag discussions, and increase the publication based on the research agenda set by each Department and the Center. The Center will also be utilized in establishing its own peer-reviewed journal.
c. Public engagement: The Center will lead in conducting trainings and workshops for the public, providing technical assistance e.g. improving community museums and schools of living traditions (SLTs) that were visited during the ‘environmental scanning’ among other things. The CHSS Cultural Center where the MSC is located will provide space for students, artists, and faculty members to exhibit their work and perform cultural and artistic concerts. One of the long-term plans is to establish its own museum/living heritage.