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AUP Hosts 10th International Scholars’ Conference

by | Oct 28, 2023

Advancing knowledge and research, the Adventist University of the Philippines hosted the 10th International Scholars’ Conference on October 24-25, 2023. The conference, in partnership with Asia-Pacific International University (AIU), Universitas Klabat (UNKLAB), and University Advent Indonesia (UNAI), was themed: Toward a New Decade of International Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research in the Next Normal.
A total of 379 participants from 17 institutions: AIU, UNKLAB, UNAI, Adventist International Institution of Advanced Studies, Central Philippine Adventist College, Loma Linda University (LLU), Andrews University, Department of Education-Central Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Libang Elementary School, Manila Adventist College, Naga View Adventist College, Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Manila, South Philippine Adventist College, Southern Luzon State University, De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, and University of the Philippines, attended the conference.
1st Plenary Session
“[May] we all experience heartwarming ISC: Interactions, Boundless Synergy, Unwavering Commitment to a lifelong pursuit and excellence of God’s glory,” Dr. Gracel Saban, the vice president for academics, welcomed the delegates during the first plenary session on October 24.
Dr. Bienvenido Mergal, Education Department director of the Southern-Asia Pacific Division, gave an inspirational message during the opening of the conference’s session. With biblical references, he emphasized how our search for things in this world “should be for God’s glory, not ours.” He mentioned that research is about “seeing the world and our role through God’s eye.”
Dr. Arceli Rosario, president of AUP, discussed the research attitude, interdisciplinary approach, and international collaboration within the context of the Bible during the plenary address. Her presentation was entitled “International Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research in the Next Normal: Key to Innovation Among Adventist Higher Education Institutions.” During the study’s recommendations, she challenged researchers to “dream big and do impactful research” by partnering with AHEIs in collaborative research. Having Jesus Christ as the inspiration for research, Dr. Arceli Rosario emphasized that “God has given us examples in the Bible of how to do interdisciplinary, international, collaborative research and that we will be able to do big things, innovative things in our higher education and even in our basic education.”
Dr. George Jackson, Earth and Biological Sciences professor at Loma Linda University, was the keynote speaker. He presented his study about a collaborative research venture from the Galapagos Islands to Lake Tanganyika, Africa, about “Mercury Bioaccumulation in Aquatic Organisms.” He also shared his adventures and expeditions during the study. “It does not have to be boring; it can be exciting doing your research,” he encouraged the participants to reach a high standard in striving for goals in this new normal of collaborative research.
After the plenary session, the conference split into parallel sessions. A total of 168 studies were presented covering various disciplines.
After the parallel sessions, masterclasses were held for the presenters and participants alike to hone and gain more knowledge in the field of research. The first masterclasses were “Establishing Rigor in Qualitative Research,” by Dr. Arceli Rosario, president of AUP, and “Discovering the Neuropharmacologist in Me,” by Dr. Ike Dela Peña, Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences associate professor of LLU.
From singing to dancing, a cultural presentation completed the first day by celebrating the culture and heritage rendered by diverse AUP groups. Showcasing the beauty of cultural tapestry, representatives from each partner institution completed the night with their special participation. UNKLAB delegates rendered a traditional Indonesian song, “O Ina Ni Keke,” while AIU performed a traditional Thailand rice dance entitled “Ramtai Seung Kratip.”
2nd Plenary Session
On the second plenary session, Pastor Gerardo Cajobe, president of the North Philippine Union Conference, talked about embracing collaborative research in the next normal in his inspirational message. He discussed that searching for knowledge should “convoke collaboration, coherence of purpose, and advantage of diversity” for God’s glory. “When researchers from different disciplines unite with a shared goal and purpose, they synergize their efforts and bring about a greater impact in the fulfillment of the mission of the church,” he stated, emphasizing the divine principle of research.
Afterward, Dr. Ike Dela Peña, associate professor of pharmacology of LLU, delivered his keynote address. Delving into “Intellectual Humility in Research and Interdisciplinary Collaboration,” Dr. Dela Peña emphasized the role of humility in meaningful advancements. “True progress in research and interdisciplinary collaboration often hinges on intellectual humility, which encourages individuals to acknowledge their limitations and work together to overcome them,” he stated.
Dr. Ronny Walean, vice president for academic affairs of UNKLAB, shared about the “Innovative Learning Model in the New Normal Era: Indonesian Independent Learning-Independent Campus” in response to the challenge of civilization due to the revolution of the industry and society of today. Dr. Jarurat Sriratanaprapat, president of AIU, focused on the disparity to the success of global health collaboration research.
Parallel sessions and masterclasses continued in the afternoon, covering the arts, humanities, and social sciences; business and governance; education; engineering, mathematics, science, and technology; health and allied health; and theology.
All about mathematics and sciences, the second masterclasses were “Reliability and Validity Evidence in Likert-type Scales,” by Dr. Jimmy Kijai, AIIAS faculty and Dr. Edwin Balila, AUP College of Science and Technology dean, and “Re-evaluating Origins: Perspectives on Creation and Evolution” by Dr. George Jackson, professor of LLU.
3rd Plenary Session
During the third plenary session, Dr. Williams Kwasi Peprah, associate professor of finance at Andrews University, tackled “Moving Forward Together: Collaborating for the Future.” His presentation delved into how various academic disciplines and businesses can harness the power of research collaboration to drive innovation, foster resilience, and secure sustainable growth.
Dr. Caroline Victorine Katemba, vice president of academic affairs of UNAI, delivered the plenary address on behalf of the president of UNAI, Dr. Milton Thorman Pardosi. She presented the study of Dr. Pardosi entitled “Toward A New Decade of International Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research in the Next Normal.”
The conference concluded with Dr. Jolly Balila, research director of AUP, delivering a vote of thanks. Then, Dr. Wanlee Putsom, research director of AIU; Dr. Debby Sondakh, research director of UNKLAB; and Dr. Joshua Tobing, research director of UNAI, expressed their words of appreciation as fellow partner institutions. In promoting the following research conference, Dr. Tobing extended an invitation to the 11th ISC, which UNAI will host.
The International Scholars Conference is a multidisciplinary research conference organized by the partnership of AUP, APIU, UNKLAB, and UNAI. This collaborative effort among these institutions was a testament to the commitment to advancing knowledge and research across borders and fostering academic excellence.


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