Nobel Laureates to establish "Bridges" in RP

The Manila Times, October 25, 2007

Six Nobel Prize laureates and a former World Bank president will go around the Philippines to talk at universities and establish partnerships with various Filipino organizatins.

The luminaries will visit Manila, Cebu and Davao between November 16, 2007 and April 25, 2008.

The tour is a project of "Bridges-Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace" organized in the Philippines by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Washington Sycip. Zobel is cahirman and CEO of Ayala Corp., and Sycip is the founding chairman of the SGV Group and of the Asian Institute of Management.

"The events [the dialogues] aime at building bridges through the Nobel laureates with local universities and other institutions in SouthEast Asia to establish long-term relationships which may result in common research programs and other forms of collaboration." according to a joint statement from Zobel and Sycip.

"By enhancing science, technology and education as a basis for peace and development may lead to better cooperation for the advancement of peace, freedom and security in the region. With the active involvement of the young generation, Asean's key to the future," the statement added.

Asean is the acronym for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a grouping of countries that include the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

The Nobel laureates who will come to the Philippines are Robert Alexander Mundell (1999, economics laureate), David Jonathan Gross (2004, physics), Finn Erling Kydland (2004, economics), David Baltimore (1975, medicine), Aaron J. Ciechanover (2004, chemistry) and East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta (1996, peace). The group will also include former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who directed the efforts of his former organization toward poverty alleviation.

The Bridges dialogues are organized by the Vienna-based and private sector-funded International Peace Foundation, whose founding chairman, Uwe Morawetz, presided over the press launching of the Philippine Bridges dialogues on Wednesday in Makati along with Zobel and Sycip.

The Bridges dialogues are nonpartisan. "They provide an international, intercultural and interdisciplinary platform for the continued education for all people," Morawetz said.

BY RENE Q. BAS, editor in chief