Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

July 19, 2013, Diliman, Quezon City - Two faculty members of the Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman, Eduardo Gonzalez, PhD and Joefe Santarita, PhD, presented their respective papers at the 7th EuroSEAS Conference in Lisbon, Portugal on July 2-5, 2013.

Dr. Gonzalez presented Is Asymmetric Autonomy the Right Answer for Southern Philippines? Lessons from the Peace Accords with Aceh’s GAM and Mindanao’s MNLF, which evaluates the prospects for enduring peace between the MILF and the Philippine government. It looks into the lessons gained from two asymmetric autonomy agreements: the 2005 Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM)-Indonesian government deal and the 1996 Moro National Liberation Front-Philippine government peace pact.

Meanwhile, Dr. Santarita discussed a slice of Filipino diasporic experience in the United States in “Negotiating Identity: The Filipino-Americans in Kodiak, Alaska.” The paper, a product of his short stint as Fulbright Scholar in Kodiak College, talks about how the Filipino diaspora community in the island, which comprises 35% of the total population, has influenced the cityscape while negotiating their identity as individuals of a different nationality, language and ethnicity in a foreign land. He also presented another paper entitled ‘Mobile Markets and Bank on Bikes: Risks and Luck of Punjabi Traders in the Philippines.’ The said paper presents the nature and strategies employed by the Punjabi businessmen, either as peddlers or micro-financers, in negotiating and reconstructing their identity in the archipelago.

First established in 1992, the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS) is an organization of European universities and research institutions that seek to promote the study of Southeast Asia. The EuroSEAS conference is a major gathering of scholars, researchers and students in and of Southeast Asia and has been conducted in Leiden, Hamburg, London, Paris, Naples and Gothenburg. The Technical University of Lisbon at the School of Social and Political Sciences chaired this year’s conference. The papers presented cut across several disciplines and covered a wide range of issues: migration, identity, popular culture, religion, health, media, civil societies, peace and conflict.

Starting 2015, the EuroSEAS conference will be held every two years instead of three, a change that indicates the growing importance of Southeast Asia and increasing number and depth of research on the region.  The conference draws participants from diverse backgrounds and is recognized as a significant global convention that facilitates network-building and the exchange of information among and between scholars and students of Southeast Asia worldwide.