12th Nakem Conference opens in Hawaii

HONOLULU, Hawaii–More than 100 scholars, academicians, researchers, and educators will participate in the 12th Nakem Conference which will be held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa here on November 16-18.

About 65 of the participants will come from the Philippines, and the rest from the US mainland, and Hawaii, according to Dr. Aurelio Solver Agcaoili, coordinator of the Ilokano language and literature program of the UH Manoa Campus.

Not including this number, Dr. Agcaoili added, are students in two high schools teaching Ilokano with about 20 coming from Farrington High School in Kalihi, and about the same number coming from Waipahu High School in Waipahu, both in Hawaii.

With the theme, “Linguistic Diversity and the Future of Nations and States,” the three-day affair will be held at the UH Manoa Campus Center Ballroom, with the Gala Night at the Hale Hoa Hotel in Waikiki. The theme, according to the rationale, reevaluates the role of languages and diversity in the life of nations and states in today’s globalized and internationalized world.

The keynote speaker will be The Rev. Dr. Gilbert Sales, CICM, president of St. Louis University in Baguio City, and St Louis College in San Fernando City. Others who will be presenting plenary addresses are: Dr. Lance Collins, PhD, JD (a practicing lawyer based in Maui, Hawaii and a Philippine studies scholar in the area of film and culture; Dr. Vilma Eda, Superintendent of the Ilocos Norte Division of Schools; and Dr. Agcaoili, who is also conference convenor and director.

There will be 65 papers to be presented including testimonial papers, which went through a review process, from students in the Ilokano language courses at the UH Manoa campus.

Some of the titles of the papers are: Collins, “Language and Nationalism and Settler Colonialism;” Fr. Sales, “Unity and Diversity from a Missionary Perspective; “Language Access, Translation and Interpretation, and the Diasporic Experience” (to be handled by a panel composed of Marina Hamoy of California, Lydia Abajo Pavon of Domestic Violence Center and Dr. Agcaoil from Nakem); Sonja Albano

Chan of SLU and University of the Philippines Baguio, “Semantic Shades of Ilokano Text in Context;” and Nadezna Ortega, “Anti-Filipino Racism in Hawaii and Its Implication on Language and Culture.”

The 12th Nakem Conference is convened and directed by Dr. Agcaoili, originally from Laoag City. Dr. Raymund Liongson, also a native of Laoag City, of UH Leeward Community College is the co-convenor and co-director. The first Nakem Conference was also held in Hawaii.

Sponsors of what has become an annual event are the UH Ilokano Program, Nakem Conferences International, and Nakem Conferences Philippines.

Nakem, an Ilokano word, has multiple meanings that include intelligence, consciousness, awareness. It has a moral sense, as in “naimbag a nakem,” which reflects a positive Christian value as lived by the Ilokanos, an ethnolinguistic group in the so-called Amianan in North Luzon and the diaspora. With reports from Guerrero Coloma/Northbound Philippines News