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October 1, 2008 > Filipino leadership forum

Filipino leadership forum

Submitted By Diane Daniel

Prominent Filipino American leaders, scholars and students from the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii will address issues vital to their community in a Friday, Oct. 3 forum, "Political Leadership Among Filipino Americans: Theories and Practice," on the Hayward Campus of California State University, East Bay.

The event is sponsored by the University's Filipino American Student Association (PASA) and the Center for Filipino Studies. It is open to the public and will be held in the multipurpose room of Cal State East Bay's New University Union.

With the U.S. presidential election set for November, the leadership forum will explore issues regarding contemporary Filipino Americans in the political landscape. Among the topics to be discussed are:
Who and where are the Filipinos in American politics?
Why have they been limited to the local levels of government despite more than 100 years of immigration to the U.S and a current population of two million Filipino Americans?
What are the challenges and success stories?
What do youth expect from their leaders in the Filipino American community?

"The forum aims to be a bridge for academics and the community in understanding important issues affecting Filipino participation in American politics," said Rica Llorente, symposium chair.

Among the forum speakers are Jose Esteves, Milpitas mayor, who will discuss lessons from the political trenches; Manny Fernandez, Union City vice mayor, who will address regional identity and the question of whether Filipinos can unite; and Michael Guingona, city council member and former Daly City mayor, who will present his thoughts on where Filipino Americans want to go politically and how to get there.

Gertrude Gregorio of the New Haven Unified School District will provide insights from her personal experiences on overcoming stereotypes of gender and race in politics, and Belinda Aquino, renowned scholar from the University of Hawaii, will analyze theories and the Filipino political experience in Hawaii.

Llorente said it is "notable that only one Filipino American - Benjamin Cayetano of Hawaii - has succeeded in becoming a state governor."

Cal State East Bay student April Tablante, president of the university's chapter of PASA, will provide the forum's "youth voice" when she presents her expectations for current and future Filipino American political leaders.

"We want the voices of the youth to be heard in this forum and we also want to learn from actual stories of leadership," Tablante said. Her topic was developed after surveying fellow youth in the area and other PASA members.

The forum will feature an exhibit of 12 paintings by contemporary Filipino artists, including Chuck Pe Benito, and a display of books recently published by members of the Center for Filipino Studies.

A Filipino lunch will be provided to all who register for the forum.

Registration is $10 per person and may be arranged by e-mail to or by sending a check made payable to Center for Filipino Studies, via U.S. mail to: Center for Filipino Studies, CSUEB, TR-657B, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward, CA 94542. Those who register in time will receive a University parking permit for the day.

Further information about the forum is available at

Filipino leadership forum
Friday, October 3
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
New University Union's multipurpose room
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward

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