“I first encountered Universitas through its Inques Pro Lege program, a summer course for law students and enthusiasts alike. Many friendships later, I couldn’t help but participate in the foundations’ vision of creating strong and morally grounded leaders for the Filipino youth. Through Universitas, I was able to attend a short seminar in the Kolegium Antona Neuwirtha in Slovakia where we learned the principles of a free society alongside students from the U.S, U.K, and Slovakia. It was a fantastic experience that has born plenty of fruit for me. I was exposed to ideas and people that challenged my limited perception of the world around me. As I continue my university studies, I shall keep to heart what I learned from my many experiences with Universitas and share its vision with others.”
Marco Polo Pantaleon is currently a third-year Political Economy student at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P). He got involved with Universitas by participating in Inquies Pro Lege during the summer of 2017. The following year he was already part of the organizing team. Marco is also the Politics and Opinion Editor for the Bosun, the Official Student Publication of UA&P. Because of his love for learning and his passion for writing, especially about socio-political matters, Universitas gave him the opportunity to join the Free Society Seminar last June 2018 in Slovakia.
By Marco Pantaleon
(Marco Pantaleon shares his stories as a participant in the Free Society Seminar 2018 held in Slovakia last June. Marco is presently a third year student of Political Economy at the University of Asia and the Pacific.)
The Free Society Seminar is an annual gathering of students from various countries including the United States, Great Britain, and Slovakia to learn and discuss the principles of a free society. Slovak students, who hosted and participated in the seminar, represented the educational institution of what its students fondly called the “Kolegium” — a building that houses one of the premier Slovak educational institutions: Kolegium Anton Neuwirth. This year, I was lucky enough to have applied through the Universitas Foundation which secured my slot as one of the 16 participants of the 9-day program.
Sheltered in what was humbly referred to as the Chateau, we lived and learned in what was a monument of a structure. It was a grand place to learn, discuss, and live with fellow students — only fitting for the grand manner in which the seminar was conducted. The idea, according to Martin Luteran, the founding rector of KAN, was that students and professors would not only learn and interact with one another in the classroom but also lived together under one roof so as to learn more from one another more intimately, just as it was in his days in Oxford.
The seminar was divided into two segments; the first held in the outskirts of Bratislava, Ivanka Pri Dunaji and the second leg in a quaint little town in the center of Slovakia named Banska Stiavnica. There were more or less three seminars each day that revolved around various themes of political philosophy. We tackled the great classics of Aristotle and Plato, who best represented the classical view of politics and juxtaposed them with modern political philosophy, as represented by Hobbes, Descartes, and Machiavelli. We were in great hands too. The professors who flew in from Washington D.C. all carried with them not only a strong command for the subject but a mastery of them. We had Dr. Robert Royal, the president of Faith and Reason institute, who made sure the seminar started and ended in the best ways possible — a toast and a short speech. We had Bill Saunders of the Harvard Law School who taught the various ways in which students can approach key issues in human rights from strategic legal standpoints. We also had the pleasure of learning from Joseph Wood who chose the life of contemplation after having served the Bush administration, among his many other accomplishments, and provided a clear framework from which the students more easily grasped more complex ideas of political philosophy. Father Derek Cross, apart from serving as the seminar’s spiritual guide, offering daily mass, lectured on International Relations and its competing theories. The lessons were enlightening….Read More.