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ISEA Holds First GA and Anniversary Celebration

The Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) held its first general assembly as it also celebrated its first year anniversary on June 19, 2009 at the Ateneo School of Government,  Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

Keynoting the Anniversary Celebration was National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) OIC Rolando Tungpalan.  Undersecretary  Tungpalan delivered a keynote address focusing on Social Entrepreneurship towards Equitable and Sustainable Development:  Perspectives on the Role of Government. In his keynote, USec Tungpalan noted the important role that social enterprises play in nation building and expressed government’s commitment to providing an enabling environment for social entrepreneurship. World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)-Asia Convenor and ISEA Board Member Claribel David introduced the keynote speaker. (See Usec Tungpalan’s speech entitled Government’s Role in Promoting Social Entrepreneurship at end of this article).

ISEA Chair and Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) Dean Antonio Lavina warmly welcomed the participants of the first anniversary celebration after environmentalist and artist Ms. Chin Chin Gutierrez lifted up the spirits of the group in an opening ritual and prayer. This was followed by the ISEA President Marie Lisa Dacanay’s Report on The Year That Was where she gave due recognition to the institutions, women and men behind ISEA’s founding.  She made special mention of ASOG’s provision of a home for ISEA, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society’s (FSSI) institution building support, Oikocredit’s social investment in social entrepreneurship knowledge creation and capacity development, Philam Foundation’s assistance for website development and the Asian Institute of Management’s (AIM) donation to ISEA of the non-exclusive use of learning materials developed under AIM’s  Social and Development Entrepreneurship Program from 2001-2007. (See the ISEA President’s Report entitled The Year That Was at the end of this article)

A highlight of the anniversary celebration was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ISEA and ASoG to develop and launch a Masters in Public Management major in Social Entrepreneurship,  targeted to start in 2010. After the launch in the Philippines, ISEA hopes to undertake similar efforts in partnership with its members in other countries.

Another highlight was the launching of the ISEA website and its interactive section, featuring an e-forum on Social Entrepreneurship and the Global Economic Crisis, led by Ronald Chua, ISEA Board Member and Microfinance Management Institute (MFMI) Curriculum Development Director and Isagani Serrano, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) Acting President and Chair of the International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions (INAFI)-Philippines.  INAFI-Philippines formally initiated the first discussion thread of the e-forum focusing on Microfinance and the Global Economic Crisis:  Initiatives, Implications and Initiatives during the Anniversary.  Also slated in succeeding weeks are discussion threads on cooperatives (anchored by VICTO-National), on India (anchored by Dhan Foundation and Tata-Dhan Academy) and Indonesia (anchored by Bina Swadaya). The e-forum on the global economic crisis hopes to provide a platform for social enterprises and their supporters in the region to share perspectives and develop an agenda for tackling the crisis and beyond.

The celebration was further made more meaningful by wine toasts made by members, partners and guests who wished ISEA more success in the coming years. The wine toasters included Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Usec Lucille Sering, Advocates for Philippine Fair Trade Inc (APFTI) Executive Director Vicente Roaring and Virginia Manalo, Vice President/Manager of Notre Dame Business Resource Center Foundation, Inc .  Acting as Master of Ceremonies for the Anniversary was Mai Anonuevo, Executive Director of Atikha and ISEA Board Member.

The Anniversary celebration was preceded by ISEA’s First General Assembly (GA), presided by ISEA Chair Antonio La Vina.  Participating in the GA were ISEA officers and representatives of Philippine-based institutional members including ASoG, FSSI, PRRM,  INAFI-Philippines, WFTO-Asia, Atikha Overseas Filipino Workers Initiative, the Conference of Asian Foundations and Organizations (CAFO), Philippine Social Enterprise Network (PhilSEN) and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

A highlight of the GA was a presentation by PBSP Executive Director Gil Salazar of various  experiences and lessons from the setting up and management of endowment funds in the Philippines, which provided the backdrop for the passing of the Assembly of a resolution creating ISEA’s Endowment Fund Committee composed of the ISEA Chair (Committee Chair), the ISEA President, ISEA Treasurer Ronald Chua, FSSI Executive Director and Board Member Emma Sandrino and Mr. Salazar (Committee Co-Chair) who is also in ISEA’s Board.  Other agenda items included the confirmation of the membership consultation results conducted via email such as the approval of the 2009 plan and budget, a decision on annual membership fees for individual (P1,000/year) and institutional members (P5,000/year), and the change of the ISEA logo. The members of the founding Board of Trustees were re-elected to serve another year until the next GA.

A sumptuous healthy lunch and merienda was prepared for the GA and anniversary by Doc Susan’s Kitchen Clinic, sponsored by Oikocredit Regional Director for Southeast Asia Tess Pilapil, FSSI and PBSP.  Fair trade products were provided by WFTO-Asia as tokens of appreciation for guests.