My fellow co-workers in the UA&P community, students, alumni and benefactors: I wish to send you all my most heartfelt Christmas wishes.
The past year has been a challenging one for us, as a country and as an institution. And it is difficult to see what is in store for us in the future, given what is happening in the Philippines, and in other areas around the world.
We are all probably wondering when will the dust whipped up by the disruptions happening around us—growing political populism, emerging trade protectionism, regional tensions in the Asia Pacific, Brexit and the future of the European Union, proxy wars in the Middle East, divisive local political issues—will begin to settle. It is quite easy to give in to a feeling of helplessness, which can then lead to indifference, or pessimism, or despair.
The Christmas season reminds us that even in difficult circumstances—think of the poverty, and indifference, and hatred that the Holy Family had to endure—light will eventually triumph over darkness, hope over despair, and goodness over evil. Let us once again turn towards the light of the Truth so we can place the dark shadows cast by an uncertain future behind us. Christmas is also a time to reflect on the Word made flesh, born in humble circumstances and then dwelling among us to show us the way, the truth, and the life.
When our University began 50 years ago, it had always been inherent in its mission to encourage everyone with whom we have contact to pursue the Truth, and to live, love and promote it.
Our professional programs covering the vast fields of business management and strategy, economics, engineering, politics, social studies, education, entrepreneurship, information technology and communication, and our research projects and people development programs always promote the truth, particularly about the dignity of the human person and the responsibility of everyone to uphold and help transform society through it. Every human person, including those in the womb or nearing their end, and even those indicted as criminals or caught in the web of all forms of addiction and personal corruption, are unrepeatable, unique and valuable.
We need not look far for the opportunity to play a part in society’s transformation. Close at hand, perhaps in your home, workplaces and community are the long-standing circumstances that degrade the person, and especially the powerless, the weak, the most vulnerable of society: poverty, unemployment, injustice, ignorance, cultural imperialism, environmental degradation.
Hence, we should not only illuminate the path but should also lead the way with our actions, our example. While the path may be arduous, the call to uphold truth, to transform society and promote the dignity of the human person through our work and ordinary circumstances remain relevant, more than ever.
A peaceful and merry Christmas to all.
Dr. Winston Conrad B. Padojinog
President, University of Asia and the Pacific