Groundbreaking held for new home of Islamic scholarship in UP

| Written by Franco Gargantiel II

UP President Danilo Concepcion (6th from right) stands with UPD Institute of Islamic Center Dean Julkipli Wadi (5th from right) and other UP officials and officials of the DPWH after burying the time capsule for the soon to rise UPD IIS Complex. Photo by Abraham Arboleda (UP MPRO).

 

March saw another milestone for the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus with the groundbreaking ceremony for its newest construction project: the UP Diliman Institute of Islamic Studies (UPD IIS) Complex.

The dream of a new home for UPD IIS

The new, soon-to-rise UP Diliman Institute of Islamic Studies Complex, to be located along C. Arellano Street, between the UP School of Economics and the GT Toyota Asian Center, realizes a long-awaited dream of the IIS faculty, staff, REPs, and students—to have a home of their own in UP Diliman.

UP Vice President for Development Elvira Zamora (left) and UPD IIS OIC-Dean Wadi (right) sign their names on the documents to be placed in the time capsule in the company of UP President Concepcion (center), UPD Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo (3rd from left), and other UP and DPWH officials. Photo by Abraham Arboleda (UP MPRO).

 

This dream was expedited after Romulo Hall, which used to house the UPD IIS, was declared unsafe due to its deteriorating structure. As a result, the UPD IIS held classes and relocated its offices and library around several academic buildings on campus in the years that followed: the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR), the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP, the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP), and, the Institute of Small-Scale Industries (ISSI).

UP Diliman Chancellor Nemenzo recounts the history of the UPD IIS. Photo by Abraham Arboleda (UP MPRO).

The upcoming UPD IIS Complex will house classrooms, administrative and research offices, and the library. It will also have student and faculty lounges, a dining hall, guest rooms, a multi-purpose hall, a mini-auditorium, a museum, and a prayer room. The Complex will feature a shared area or commons called “The Muslim World Today,” where UP academics, researchers, and students can interact with Islamic Studies scholars, resource persons, and diplomats from different Muslim counties and communities. The public may also appreciate UPD IIS’s rich collection of Islamic art, history, and culture in the area. Hopefully, the new Complex may bring into new heights UP as the premier institution of higher learning engaged in the study of Islam as faith, tradition, and civilization, in line with UP’s vision of promoting excellence, honor, service, and harmony among its Muslim and non-Muslim students.

Importance of scholarship on Islamic culture

UP President Danilo L. Concepción, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Acting Secretary Roger G. Mercado, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo, and UPD IIS OIC_Dean Prof. Julkipli M. Wadi led the groundbreaking ceremony for UPD IIS’s future home on March 1, 2022.

After welcoming the attendees, UPD Chancellor Nemenzo traced the origins of the UPD ISS, dating back to its foundation in 1979. “By building a new home for our Institute of Islamic Studies, we are conveying the message that it is important to have a scholarship of Islamic culture.”

UP President Concepcion commends the “endurance and hard work” of the UPD IIS community despite their lack of a home of their own. Photo by Abraham Arboleda (UP MPRO).

He also stressed the importance of such scholarship in shaping our country and region. “We are proud to have an Institute of Islamic studies because of the central role of Islam in the region,” he said.

UP President Concepción shared how it took a decade to construct the IIS building, how it was a combination of both timing and effort on the part of everyone involved, and how this project was made possible through collaboration with the DPWH.

“The UP-DPWH partnership did not only result in the Department’s commitment to better project implementation but also its generosity in funding the University’s infrastructure development,” Concepcion said.

Concepcion also acknowledged the endurance and hard work that the UPD IIS community demonstrated through the years. “Alam kong hindi naging madali para sa inyo sa IIS ang kawalan ng sariling tahanan. Ngunit kahanga-hanga ang inyong pagpupunyagi sa kabila ng kakulangang ito. Kaunting tiis pa po. [I know being deprived of your own home hasn’t been easy for you in the IIS. But your perseverance despite this lack has been admirable. Just hang on a little bit longer.]”

A highlight of the groundbreaking ceremony is Indah Hanna Wadi’s performance of pangalay. Pangalay is a traditional Tausug dance characterized by elaborate body postures and gestures and the dancer’s graceful arm and hand movement, amplified by metal claws. Afterward, the time capsule was buried to preserve the momentous occasion’s memories and mark the beginning of a prosperous future for the UPD IIS.