Leslie J. Baja gives a copy of the book "Highlights of Relations
between the Phlippines and Switzerland" to Dr. Bettina Beer of the
University of Lucerne.
Philippine Embassy in Berne helps promote Philippine Studies at Swiss university
to Switzerland Leslie J. Baja met on 16 April 2012 with Dr. Bettina
Beer, Professor of Ethnology, at Universităt Luzern to discuss ways on
how to spur interest on the Philippines among university students in
“The Embassy is developing a network of Philippinists in Switzerland
whom we can tap to help us in our efforts toward raising awareness of
the Philippines among various sectors of society in Switzerland,”
explained Ambassador Baja. Earlier, the Ambassador met with officials
of the University of Bern for the same purpose.
Ambassador Baja discussed the possibility of having a series of
lectures on the Philippines of interests to students at Universităt
Luzern and the establishment of a Philippine corner at the University’s
At present, specialized courses on the Philippines is being taught at
Universităt Luzern every third semester of academic calendar. Classes
per semester offering sit around 25 undergraduate students, comprised
mostly of Swiss nationals and a sprinkling second generation Swiss
Filipinos. Prof. Beer, who has an avid interest on Philippine
anthropology and has already published at least two books on the
subject, wants to develop an exchange program between university
students, from undergraduate to post doctoral, and faculty members from
Switzerland and the Philippines.
“Eventually, I hope the University can develop a curriculum on
Philippine Studies and have regular student excursions to the
Philippines (every two years) to immerse our students in communities of
their research interest,” said Prof. Beer.
The Anthropology Department of Universităt Luzern already has a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) each with the University of the
Philippines in Diliman and San Carlos University in Cebu. One of the
provisions of the MOU is an exchange program between students and
faculty members from both countries.
“I encourage Filipino students (from undergraduate to post-doctoral)
and faculty members interested in the exchange program to apply for
funding support at the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
Faculty members are expected to teach research methodology on
anthropology for one year. Subjects/fields of teaching could also be in
related fields such as, but not limited to, history, economics,
linguistics, archeology, and sociology,” added Prof. Beer.
The MOU sprung from the efforts of Prof. Beer to develop linkages
between her university and Philippine universities on anthropology,
which is her field of interest. The professor was recently in Bohol
with a group of undergraduate students from Universităt Luzern to study
anthropological methods in the Philippines and to immerse the students
in communities that are subjects of their research. She was also
invited to be part of the editorial board of the Journal on Southeast
Asia and Anthropology published by the University of the Philippines in