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Pursuing Unity

By Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar

Unity is strength…where there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. – Mattie Stepanak

In October,1945, the United Nations, an international organization dedicated to world peace and stability was officially established. Over 51 countries around the world signed in the Declaration of the United Nations, the text having been drafted by then President Franklin D Roosevelt, the chief promoter of the United Nations idea. The leaders of the UN had high hopes that it would act to prevent conflicts and foster human rights, economic development, health and education and decolonization.

Since its inception, the UN has truly attained the status of a global body. Its membership has increased to more than 200 in 2013 and its obligations and functions have increased manifolds. The maintenance of international peace and security was and will always be the primary obligation of the UN. So far, it has been successful.

Filipino migration to the numerous countries in the world has tremendously increased in the past two or three decades. Whether it’s Jeddah, Belgium and other parts of Europe, or New Zealand and Africa, Filipinos are everywhere. The necessity to get out of the motherland became inevitable. Professionals and skilled workers were in search of much decent wages, better lives, and better future for their families and loved ones. In Calgary alone, current statistics reveal there are 75,000 Filipinos.

Like any other ethnic community, Filipinos are keen to organizing associations and organizations of all sorts to promote art and cultural awareness, educational and social activities, economic development and prosperity. The community sentiment or feeling of belonging together is intrinsic. In modern times, however, that sentiment gets lost to individualism, a social theory favouring freedom of action for individuals, being self-reliant and self-directed.

Arriving in Calgary during the mid-70s, I learned the existence of only one Filipino organization- the Filipino Association of Southern Alberta, which honestly, me and my husband never became a member.  My first commitment was to my family. Juggling a full time job, continuing education and obligations of raising three very young and active children occupied most of my precious moments.  In life, we set goals and priorities. The process to attain those goals and priorities is imperative. “Strike while the iron is hot” has a very significant connotation to me. Making the most of an opportunity while one has the chance to do so is a positive step.

Through the years of my residency in Calgary, I saw the creation and establishment of, not few, but numerous Filipino organizations, both for the young and old. Eventually in 1989, I found the organization which I truly felt a comfortable sense of belonging into – my Alumni Association. I have the honour to be one of the founders of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Alberta (Calgary). Our main goals and objectives were in sync with the ideals of our Alma mater. Though mainly a social organization at the beginning, it evolved into an association that truly carries out the primary ideal of promoting UP’s academic freedom and excellence and giving back to our university community.

Our group/team created and established a Scholarship Fund through fundraising endeavours mainly an annual golf tournament. Our concerted and collective efforts paid off.   In coordination and collaboration with the UP Office of Scholarship and Financial Assistance, we supported a brilliant student who was financially strapped pursue a degree in Applied Physics. She completed her bachelor in science degree Magna Cum Laude. Then she moved on to the International Center of Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy after granted a full post graduate scholarship. Moving further on, she landed with a scholarship grant to pursue a PhD in Physics at a US University in the New England area.

Unity is an organizational necessity. Organizations need unity. Many have survived without it. Many have been profitable without it. But none have come close to their full potential without it. To succeed at their highest levels by any means, organizational unity must be adopted as a pragmatic requirement. Without unity, organizational communities become focused on pursuing narrow and conflicting objectives.

Unity accelerates a team’s success. Communicating professionally and respectfully manifests integrity. Pursuing team accomplishments rather than individual accolades boosts team efforts. Great leaders coach others “up.” They aspire to make others look good. Their goal is to shine the spotlight on others, to highlight good work, and to share praise. Operating with the highest ethical values and doing the right things inspire organizational rank and file. They limit leanings to complains and negative criticisms. Focus on the team’s goal is a constant. It’s incredibly helpful.


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