Rome – June 25, 2013- As part of the Philippine Embassy’s month-long celebration of the 115th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, the newly renovated Philippine Conference Room was inaugurated at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome on 18 June 2013. The room was jointly inaugurated by Dr. José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director General and Engr. Proceso J. Alcala, Secretary of Agriculture, accompanied by H.E. Ambassador Virgilio A. Reyes, Jr. and Dr. Virginia Miralao, Secretary General of the Philippines’ UNESCO National Commission.
The renovation of the Philippine Conference Room or Sala Filipino in 2012, made possible by funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, provided the opportunity to bring some aspects of the Philippines to the FAO Headquarters. Tribute is paid to the “colors and landscape of the Philippines inspired by its natural elements, the see and the people’s way of life.” There are delicate references to rice terraces, sailboats and bamboo structures throughout the room as well as panorama showcasing various characteristics and sites of the Philippines.
In his message, Ambassador Reyes encouraged everyone to continue efforts in the fulfillment of the FAO’s mandate to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, increase agricultural productivity and sustainability, and improve the quality of life and livelihoods of people in rural areas. “May this room provide inspiration and energy to those who meet in it.”
In collaboration with the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, the Embassy also organized the Exhibit on the Philippines’ World Heritage Sites featuring the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. The exhibit took center stage at the Atrium of the FAO Headquarters, as part of the Philippine Government’s campaign for its candidature to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The exhibit highlighted the Rice Terraces as part of the Globally Important Agriculture Heritage System (GIAHS) and its Twinning Programme of Exchange and Cooperation with the Cinque Terre of Italy.
The Kayumanggi Philippine Folkloric Dance Company, aRome-based Filipino cultural group, dressed in traditional Ifugao attire added color to the event. – (PE – Rome & photos by Stefano Romano)