The College of Public Affairs and Development recently concluded its 25th Anniversary Celebration with the theme, “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, Paving the Future.”
The celebration kicked off before 2022 ended with two webinars organized by CPAf research units, along with a series of episodes for the college podcast – PATalk. A college sportsfest – Kalye-Limpiks was also held on January 23, 2023, and finally culminating with a program on January 31, 2023 at Charles Fuller Baker Memorial Hall. The event was graced with CPAf pioneers, partners, constituents, students, alumni, retirees, and guests.
In her opening remarks, CPAf Dean Dr. Rowena dT. Baconguis expressed her gratitude to the people who pushed for the creation of the college and the pillars and mentors who provided the direction of the college. Dr. Baconguis also added that CPAf will continue its efforts in being a leader and in marking a difference.
UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr., in his inspirational message, lauded the college for its accomplishments, such as producing academic leaders all over the country and abroad, and making graduate education more inclusive with its offshore programs. He also reminded everyone that the college was meant to be the melting pot of social sciences in UPLB and to answer the development issues and challenges of governance, not only in the higher education and local government, but most prominently, on governance in agriculture. “Governance is the very heart and essence why CPAf was established,” Chancellor Camacho said, “Yan po dapat and pagtutuunan ng CPAf (CPAf should focus on this) …respond to the challenges that beset local government units, their response to agricultural transformation, to disaster mitigation…,” he added.
Dr. Alex B. Brillantes, Jr., Professor Emeritus of the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, served as the guest speaker. He talked about opportunities and challenges in achieving distinct excellence in public affairs, governance, and development.
In his message, Dr. Brillantes, Jr. reaffirmed that public affairs is important in addressing the present challenges and stressed that at the end of the day, governance is the main issue. He urged CPAf to continue bridging theory and practice and always strive to remain relevant in the field. He also challenged CPAf to be critical thinkers. “Critical thinking is a must to be responsible public servants. Question authority; it is okay to question authority. We cannot solve problems with the same thinking,” he emphasized.
Dr. Brillantes also repeatedly echoed the need to know whom our work is for – having a clear view of who CPAf’s public is. He ended his talk by urging CPAf constituents to focus on the vulnerable and put emphasis on equity and the next generation, while always taking into consideration ethics and accountability.
During the anniversary program, CPAf also honored faculty and staff in recognition of their exemplary service and performance. Plaques of appreciation were given to faculty members for their scientific productivity. As of 2023, four faculty members were bestowed the prestigious UP Scientist ranks. Sixteen faculty members were also recognized for being recipients of the UP Professorial Chair and Faculty Grants. Loyalty and service awards were also handed out to staff for their continuous service and efforts for the college. Retirees and honorary officials were also recognized. Special recognition awards were also handed out to chosen CPAf constituents.
CPAf was established on January 12, 1998, and has continued to thrive in the field of governance, development studies, and public affairs. Reaching the 25th milestone is such an achievement already but CPAf will remain to be catalysts of change. As what Dean Baconguis said, “CPAf remains steadfast in its mission and vision as we aim to further strengthen our organizational competencies to be of better service to our partners and communities and make a difference in the nation in the area of public affairs.”