It is my singular honor to greet the delegates, participants, and speakers of the 2007 International Conference on Ilokano and Amianan Literatures and Cultures. I understand that for the first time, this international conference is being convened by multiple parties and organizations led by the Ilokano Language and Literature Program of the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. Other organizations that are assisting or co-sponsoring this event include the GUMIL Hawai`i (Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano iti Hawai`i), the Timpuyog Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano-Filipinas, the Timpuyog Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano-Amerika, the Timpuyog Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano-Global, the Annak ti Kailokuan iti Amerika, the Nakem Conferences Inc., the Nakem Conferences Philippines, the International Academy for Ilokano and Amianan Studies, the Philippine Studies Program of Leeward Community College, the Center for Philippine Studies of the University of Hawai`i, and the Philippine Consulate General of Honolulu.
From my perspective as chair of the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures that houses the Ilokano Language and Literature Program, I see this initiative as an appropriate way to celebrate the diversity of peoples, cultures, and languages in the state of Hawai`i, the mainland United States, and the Philippines.
It is this unique diversity that we, as educators, must celebrate in and outside of the academic world through collaborations, joint projects, and intellectual exchanges like this conference. In the difficult search for a balance between the needs of heritage communities and the needs and concerns of our global society, it is my hope that this conference may serve as an example of the kinds of continued explorations of identity and celebrations of diversity that we should all strive for.
Kablaawankayo amin. My greetings to all of you.
John Mayer, Ph.D.