Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NEWS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS | In celebration of National Language Month

NEW YORK CITY |  On August 19, 2013, I was the featured Poet in a Celebration of National Language Month at the Philippine Consulate General in New York City. It was an evening of music, poetry and Balagtasan.

The lovely Kay Habana and the 12-year-old Jessmar Ruel Bahia sang several beautiful Philippine songs. I offered a poetry recital: an evolution of Philippine poetic styles from the American colonial period to the post-colonial period to the contemporary present. I recited poetry by Jose Corazon De Jesus (aka Huseng Batute), Alejandro Abadilla, Jose F. Lacaba and Rio Alma. Then I read a couple of my own works. The translations I did of several of the Filipino poems were projected on a screen so that non-Filipino audience members could understand what I read. 

The evening ended with an entertaining Balagtasan presentation by Frances Dominguez, Sofia Garcia Abad, and Shirley Cuyugan O’Brien. The Balagtasan is a form of debate in poetic verse. The three verse-spouting widows debated the resolution: "Where should Filipinos best retire: in America or in the Philippines."

I wish to publicly thank the Philippine Consulate General New York, specifically Vice Consul Khrystina P. Corpuz for inviting me to recite my poetry. In the U.S., there are not many opportunities to hear Philippine literature spoken in a public setting. I was able to gather young people who have been interested in learning more about the Filipino language, most especially to speak it. It was also a distinct honor to be able to perform Philippine poetry in front of a discerning audiences of Filipino speakers, who very audibly showed their appreciation for all the performers. Although it was a very modest celebration, the guests lingered after the event, and we shared a meal at the art gallery.

I hope that there can be more opportunities for language-based events to be presented in New York and elsewhere. Such events can help bring together second- and third-generation Filipino Americans who seeks to be rooted to their history, language and heritage.

What follows is a report that was originally posted on August 27, 2013 in the Briefing Room department of the Official Gazette of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines.  --rg

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Photo by Department of Foreign Affairs Republic of the Philippines

27 Agosto 2013 – Idinaos noong ika-19 ng Agosto ng Konsulado Panlahat ng Pilipinas sa New York ang pagdiriwang para sa Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa.

Sa kanyang pambungad na pagbati, ihinayag ni Pangunahing Konsul Mario L. de Leon, Jr. ang kanyang pananalig na ang wikang Filipino ay nakapagbibigkis sa pamayanang Filipino-Amerikano sa anumang dako ng Estados Unidos. Kanya ring hinikayat ang mga kabataan na matutunan ang paggamit ng wikang Filipino, sa pakikipagtalastasan sa kanilang mga tahanan man, sa mga kaibigan o pamayanan. Ipinagmalaki niya na ang mga kaugaliang kagaya ng Balagtasan, at pagbigkas ng mga awitin at tulang Filipino ay dapat na palawigin ng ating mga kababayan upang higit itong makilala sa buong mundo.

Naghandog ng mga awiting Filipino si Bb. Kay Habana at ang 12-taong gulang na si Jessmar Ruel Bahia na lubos na ikinalugod ng mga nanunuod. Samantala, si Ginoong Randy Gener naman ay nagtanghal ng isang ebolusyon ng tulang Filipino na sinimulan nyang pagbigkas ng mga tula nila Jose Corazon De Jesus, Jose F. Lacaba, Alejandro Abadilla at Virgilio Almario, at itinapos nya nang paglalahad ng dalawang tulang kanyang sariling akda.

Pinakatampok nang gabing iyon ang isang Balagtasan na isinagawa nina Frances Dominguez, Sofia Garcia Abad at Shirley Cuyugan O’Brien. Tinalakay sa balagtasan ang paksang “Saan Mas Mainam Magretiro ang mga Pilipino, sa Amerika o sa Pilipinas?” Marami ang nahikayat, kasama na ang mga kabataan, na matutong pagbabalagtas matapos nilang masaksihan ang galing ng tatlong makata sa kanilang pagtatanghal.

Ang buwan ng Agosto ang itinakda ng Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino upang dakilain ang Filipino bilang Wikang Pambansa. Nagsasagawa ng Pagpupugay sa Watawat ng Pilipinas tuwing Lunes, nagpapatugtog ng musikang Filipino at nagpalabas ng mga pelikulang Filipino noong ng Sinehan sa Summer ang Konsulado bilang pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika. WAKAS

This entry was posted in Briefing Room, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Monday, August 12, 2013

INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM SEMINAR | Global journalists and human-rights advocates crack open the world of international LGBT issues

Are you hungry for a career in global news? Would you like to travel and report on some of the world's most important and exciting LGBT stories? Could you see yourself breaking international stories from a newsroom in London, Hong Kong, Boston, New York or Washington, D.C.?

I have been hard to work organizing an "International Journalism Seminar" in Boston. It features our country's leading global U.S. journalists and human-rights activists. The seminar takes place August 22 in Boston. Read here for information about what to expect and how to sign up for it.

A group of leading global U.S. media companies, human-rights activists and international journalists will crack open the world of international journalism as part of "Boston: Uncommon" 9th LGBT Media Summit, organized by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) on Thursday, August 22, 2013  at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers.

Entitled "International Journalism Seminar on LGBT Issues and Story Coverage," the convening assembles The Global Post, PRI's The World, The Ground Truth Project, Critical Stages, In the Culture of One World, The, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and 2013 NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award winner Michael Luongo.

The seminar will feature KEVIN DOUGLAS GRANT, a founding member of The GroundTruth Project and the Deputy Editor of Special Reports at GlobalPost; MICHAEL LUONGO, a freelance journalist and author of "Gay Travels in the Muslim World" and "Frommer’s Buenos Aires"; CHARLES M. SENNOTT, the Vice President, Editor-at-Large and co-founder of GlobalPost; BRUCE SHAPIRO, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University (still pending); JEB SHARP, producer of the public radio program PRI’s The World, a radio news magazine; and ROBERTA SKLAR, a veteran of social justice media campaigns and the Communications Director and Press Secretary of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

I will serve as moderator for this seminar. For details, visit the NLGJA website here:

More than 350 journalists and communications professionals from across the US are expected to come to "Boston: Uncommon," the NLGJA National Convention and 9th LGBT Media Summit.  The four-day assembly, taking place from August 22 to 25, will begin with the LGBT Media Summit on August 22. Since 2004, the LGBT Media Summit offers special emphasis on the challenges faced by LGBT Media outlets. This one day conference serves as the opening forum for the National Convention.

The "International Journalism Seminar on LGBT Issues and Story Coverage" will put forward and explore practical information and theoretical knowledge essential for a career in the demanding, ever-changing field. My aim for the seminar is to emphasize opportunities and strategies for the LGBT Media here in the U.S. to cover international issues and human-rights concerns that affect LGBT communities around the world. LGBT journalists have had few opportunities to work as foreign correspondents. That’s especially the case in today’s media environment, with sharp cutbacks by many news outlets in their international coverage.

At the same time, LGBT communities outside of the U.S. rarely receive coverage of global issues that directly affect their lives, from anti-gay violence and transgender rights to the status of LGBT marriages and the impact of social media on the international LGBT coverage. This program aims to offer tools and basics on international LGBT reporting in our increasingly globalized world. It offers cases studies on how LGBT journalists based in the U.S. can play an important role in covering and advocating for international developments. It will delve into how to acquire the skills, resources and digital tools to produce global stories, making them more competitive in the newsroom.

In addition, I prepared an "International LGBT Journalism Resource File and Tool Kit." This PDF file explains how to get advanced training and experience so that journalistic reports can bring fresh perspectives of the LGBT world to U.S. audiences. It also outlines some of the best international LGBT reporting that have been done so far. To download this "Resource File and Tool Kit," visit the link posted here:

Founded in 1990, the NATIONAL LESBIAN & GAY JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION (NLGJA) is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members. Its "Boston: Uncommon" convention will also include Connect - the NLGJA Student Journalism Project, the Women's Networking Dinner, NLGJA's Excellence in Journalism Awards and numerous other learning and networking opportunities for members. Visit


KEVIN DOUGLAS GRANT is a founding member of The GroundTruth Project, a foundation-supported initiative dedicated to training the next generation of foreign correspondents in the digital age. He is also the Deputy Editor of Special Reports at GlobalPost, where he oversees foundation-supported reporting series from around the world. A native of Chicago, he holds an M.A. in Online Journalism from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School, where he was a Dean's Scholar, and is the former Operations Director of Web news enricher He was the founding Executive Editor of Annenberg's thriving 24/7 news site Grant also holds a B.A. in International Studies from DePaul University and has been published by, American Public Media, Religion News Service, Huffington Post, LA Daily News, Columbia Journalism Review and Truthdig.
GROUND TRUTH PROJECT is a foundation-supported initiative dedicated to training the next generation of foreign correspondents in the digital age. It is focused on the issues of social justice including human rights, freedom of expression, emerging democracies, the environment, religious affairs and global health. GroundTruth seeks to foster dialogue and engagement about these issues, with the aim of finding solutions as well as exposing injustice. It also seeks to build the capacity for freedom of expression in developing countries around the world by helping to train a new generation of correspondents who can work together across different media platforms and cultural backgrounds.
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MICHAEL LUONGO is a freelance journalist, editor and photographer and New York University adjunct professor teaching travel writing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Bloomberg News, CNN, National Geographic Traveler, Gay City News, the Advocate, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, Details, Man About World and other publications, with most of his travel writing and international correspondence work concentrating on the Middle East and Latin America. He is the recipient of the 2013 NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award, the 2011 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBT Journalist of the Year and the 2010 Grand Prize in Travel Writing Award Winner for NATJA (North American Travel Journalist Association). His 2010 Gay City News piece on the killing of gay men in Iraq won several awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer. He has received awards from SPJ’s Deadline Club New York Chapter, ASJA, IGLTA and was a finalist in the 2010 London Foreign Press Association Awards. Michael is also NLGJA’s Travel Writers Caucus Chair.
Luongo's BOOKS include Gay Travels in the Muslim World, originally published when he was the imprint editor for Haworth’s Out in the World series on gay travel literature, and the only gay-themed American book published in Arabic; Gay Tourism, the first academic book on the gay travel industry; and Frommer’s Buenos Aires, written during his years living part time in Argentina. His most recent book is Sensual Travels, an edited collection published in June of this year by German publishing house Bruno Gmunder.
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CHARLES M. SENNOTT is the Vice President, Editor-at-Large and co-founder of GlobalPost. An award-winning foreign correspondent with 25 years of experience, Sennott has reported on the front lines of wars and insurgencies in at least 15 countries, including the 2011 revolution in Cairo and the Arab Spring. He was among the first journalists on the ground in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11th and has continued reporting there throughout the last decade. He covered the war in Iraq from the invasion through the surge to the beginning of the drawdown of troops. Before joining GlobalPost, Sennott was a longtime foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe. He served as the Globe's Middle East Bureau Chief based in Jerusalem from 1997 to 2001 and as Europe Bureau Chief based in London from 2001 to 2005. He is the author of two books, "The Body and The Blood" and "Broken Covenant," and a co-author of a third.
GLOBAL POST is the award-winning world news site with outstanding original reporting from country-based journalists in all regions of the world. Noted by The New York Times as “offering a mix of news and features that only a handful of other news organizations can rival,” GlobalPost offers fresh, in-depth perspective on the changing global picture that affects us all by combining traditional journalistic values and the power of new media.
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BRUCE SHAPIRO is executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, encouraging innovative reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy worldwide from the Center’s headquarters at Columbia University in New York City. An award-winning reporter on human rights, criminal justice and politics, Shapiro is a contributing editor at The Nation and U.S. correspondent for Late Night Live on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National.
The DART CENTER FOR JOURNALISM AND TRAUMA, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. Whether the topic is street crime, family violence, natural disaster, war or human rights, effective news reporting on traumatic events demands knowledge, skill and support. The Dart Center provides journalists around the world with the resources necessary to meet this challenge, drawing on a global, interdisciplinary network of news professionals, mental health experts, educators and researchers.
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JEB SHARP is producer of the public radio program PRI’s The World. Before taking on her current position she was a longtime correspondent for The World, focusing on U.S. foreign policy and human rights. She has reported from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East as well as the U.S. Her work has won awards from the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2005-2006. Sharp studied history at Cornell University and the University of York in England. She has a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley. She began her radio career at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska and also worked at WBUR in Boston before joining the staff of The World. She lives in Cambridge, Mass.
PRI’s THE WORLD is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. Launched in 1996, PRI’s The World, a co-production of WGBH/Boston, Public Radio International, and the BBC World Service, airs weekdays on over 300 stations across North America. is an online home for the radio content where you can also find additional multimedia offerings such as blogs, photo galleries, and podcasts produced by The World’s team.
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ROBERTA SKLAR is the Communications Director and Press Secretary of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. A leading communications strategist, a media relations’ specialist, and a veteran of social justice media campaigns, she has worked to advance LGBT civil rights, sexual and reproductive health rights, and global female empowerment. Sklar is the former communications director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Empire State Pride Agenda. During her tenure, the Task Force re-established itself as a leading national voice for LGBT rights. At the Pride Agenda Sklar conducted media campaigns supporting the delivery of groundbreaking statewide nondiscrimination law, a hate crimes law, and NY’s first state funding for LGBT health and human services. As a consultant, she worked with NYC Anti-Violence Project, Freedom to Marry, the National Sexuality Resource Center, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Queers for Economic Justice, and others.
The INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (IGLHRC), founded in 1990, is a leading international human rights organization dedicated to improving the lives of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. IGLHRC is dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the LGBT human rights movement worldwide to effectively conduct documentation of LGBT human rights violations and by engaging in human rights advocacy with partners around the globe. IGLHRC holds consultative status at the United Nations as a recognized Non-Governmental Organization representing the concerns and human rights of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people worldwide.
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Friday, August 2, 2013

LISTEN TO THIS | Speaking about Bradley Manning verdict on Ireland news radio Newstalk 106–108 fm

DUBLIN and NEW YORK CITY |  Yesterday I provided live radio commentary and news analysis on the Bradley Manning verdict on Ireland's news radio Newstalk 106–108 fm.

The Dublin-based producer of "Davenport After Dark" contacted me after reading my news story about the Manning trial and verdict on, a daily news site on current affairs and politics to which I have been contributing. The site is founded by Derek Bowler.

Dublin-based host Fionn Davenport was particularly interested on whether Manning achieved a moral or ethical victory. I said no, not really.

You can listen to the interview by clicking to on the link below. The interview I gave starts from about 40 minutes in.

The Irish host Fionn Davenport looked briefly at the background of the Manning story, the verdict and the sentencing hearing. They mostly wanted commentary on the sentencing hearing, implications for future whistleblowers and the reaction to the trial in the US.

Newstalk's "Davenport After Dark" is an hour-long radio show in Ireland. It describes itself as "an alternative and opinionated look at everything that informs, infuriates and entertains us. From the boardroom to the bedroom, Davenport After Dark will cover it all; every Thursday night from 10 PM. It's a little bit dangerous."