Monday, April 14, 2008

CHINA-PHILIPPINE EXCHANGE PROGRAM

China
May 10-19, 2008

Focus on the Global South is organizing a Philippine delegation to go to China from May 10-19, 2008 as part of its China-Philippine Exchange Program. In China, Filipino participants will meet with civil society organizations, social movements, members of the academe, and government officials in the hope of fostering and cooperation among progressive researchers, organizers and social movement activists and deepening their understanding about the developmental, social and environmental challenges in both countries.

BACKGROUND
There is an increasing interest and necessity to understand the "China factor" in today's global political economy. Various sectors are already viewing the risen China as a new challenge, which requires new and innovative engagements. It is now the Philippines' third largest trading partner after Japan and the US and the partnership is growing by an annual average growth rate of 41% since 2004. Philippine exports to China amounted to US$4.62 billion in 2006 while imports amounted to US$3.67 billion, giving the Philippines a surplus of US$495 million that year.

In January 2007, the Philippines signed 12 non-agricultural agreements and 19 agricultural agreements with China under the RP-China Trade and Economic Agreements. The Framework Agreement on Expanding and Deepening Bilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation between the Philippine Government and the Chinese Government included agriculture, fisheries, public works and infrastructure, housing, mining, energy, manufacturing, textiles and garments, industrial parks and economic development zones, tourism, information and communications technology, container inspection machines, and trade promotion under the areas of cooperation.

Many NGOs and people's organization in the Philippines have expressed resistance to the RP – China Agreements because of potential and actual problems that are related with land rights, impacts to natural resources and food production. In recent weeks, the increasing clamor to oust the current Philippine president directly involves corruption-ridden deals and loans extended by China.

The emerging geo-political dynamics in the region, involving China, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, as well as the United States also has wide-ranging implications for peace and security. To the extent that the United States' moves in the region are driven by China's rise and China itself pursues its own economic and political interests in the region, these dynamics will frame the possibilities for movements seeking change in both countries and beyond.

QUALIFICATIONS
For the delegation, Focus on the Global South seeks three Filipinos who will be able to maximize the opportunities that the program offers, for their own organizations in particular and for the progressive movements in general.

 They should be activists (researchers, organizers, popular educators, campaigners, etc.) who will join the delegation as representatives of their organizations.
 Those with the following organizational backgrounds will be prioritized: a) development; b) environment; c) farmer d) women; e) labor; and f) an activist policy research.
 The organizations they represent must have a current international work component in their program to ensure follow-up activities after the exchange period.
 They should be able to demonstrate organizational commitment and capacity to use the China - Philippine visit in support of their current China-related work or as a springboard for their organization' s future international work on China.
 They can act as resource persons about their organization and the issues they are working on in the Philippines and should be able to discuss the state of and the strategies for organizing/mobiliza tion in their sectors.

APPLICATION PROCESS
Interested applicants should send the following to info@focusweb. org on or before April 18, 2008:
 bio-data, resume, or CV with details of activist work
 a short essay (maximum 1,000 words) in English or Filipino explaining how they fit the qualifications enumerated above and how they plan to make use of their participation in the delegation to achieve their personal and organizational objectives
 endorsement from applicant's organization briefly explaining how applicant's participation in program could be useful for the organization

Applicants should already have passports by April 30, 2008.

For any other questions, please contact Herbert Docena: info@focusweb.org or +6324330899.


APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, APRIL 18.

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