Founded in January 1996 as a private nonprofit and nonpartisan “think tank,” the foundation seeks to become an enduring center for propagating critical and new understanding of public policy and its impact on peace and development.
Through conferences and dialogues that bring together scholars and decision-makers from different parts of the world, the foundation provides a unique, neutral forum for bridging government, academe, and the private sector.
The foundation conducts independent research studies, carries out privately funded development assistance projects, and gives recognition to outstanding achievements in the area of international understanding and development.
A Vibrant Philippines in a Dynamic World
The importance of traditional borders between nation-states is crumbling in our fast-globalizing world, while dramatic shifts to freer trade are redrawing the globe’s economic and political map. In this ever-changing global environment, governments are no longer the sole power wielders. As the private sector acquires greater global clout, its potential contributions toward prosperity and human development must be harnessed.
At the foundation’s launch keynote speaker President Fidel V. Ramos pointed out that CPR’s greatness “lay not in the profession of arms but in the work of diplomacy and peace.”
One of the challenges facing us in today’s dynamic global environment is how to best define the roles the public and private sectors play in the pursuit of peace and prosperity.
The foundation fulfills a need created by the increasing collaboration between the state and the private sector. It serves as an objective source of reliable analyses, which Philippine political leaders can turn to for sound policy guidance, and from which corporations can glean insights about the opportunities emerging in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, it gives scholars the rare chance to dialogue with business and government decision-makers and to get a practical look at public policy.
The foundation is an intellectually rigorous institution dedicated to providing new perspectives to enhance the Philippines’ global competitiveness. It also strives to develop among Filipinos a greater consciousness of the significant international issues of our time and the relevance of these issues to their lives.
Quezon City Mayor Ismael Mathay, Beth Day Romulo, and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto R. Romulo (from left) were among those who formally launched the foundation on January 15, 1996, at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. Also present were President Fidel V. Ramos, Foreign Affairs Secretary Domingo Siazon, Jr., and Archbishop Gian Vinzenso Moreni, the apostolic nuncio and dean of the diplomatic corps. Siazon, who co-hosted the event together with the Romulo family, delivered a speech entitled “The Asian Diplomat,” which touched on CPR’s achievements in Philippine foreign affairs.
The foundation’s inaugural activity in 1996 was the conference Deepening Asia-Pacific Cooperation, which brought together twenty government, academic, and private sector representatives from eleven countries to discuss political/security cooperation, economic cooperation, and private sector participation in the Asia-Pacific region. The conference was chaired by Roberto R. Romulo, Chairman of the Romulo Foundation, and co-chaired by Professor Han Sung Joo, Director of the Ilmin Institute of International Relations, Korea University.
The foundation also organized the seminar Philippine-American Relations in a New Century in 1998, held at the AIM Conference Center, Makati City. Leading thinkers and influential personalities were invited to participate in the event. Among the American speakers were former US ambassadors to the Philippines: Stephen Bosworth, Michael Armacost, Thomas Hubbard, and Nicholas Platt. Filipino speakers included ASEAN Secretary-General Rodolfo Severino, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Domingo Siazon, Secretary of Trade and Industry Manuel Roxas II. The key speakers from business community were Maurice T. Greenberg and Jaime Augusto Zoble de Ayala. Philippine President Joseph Estrada gave the keynote address.
A Man and His Dream
The foundation is dedicated to Carlos P. Romulo’s dream of living in a world that is fair, secure, and peaceful. A firm believer in interstate cooperation based on sovereign equality, Romulo devoted all his energies to this vision in his more than fifty years of public service under eight Philippine presidents.
“The foundation hopes to bring new knowledge to the attention of decision-makers, and afford scholars a better insight into a public policy issues,” said Roberto Romulo, chairman of the foundation.
Romulo was a staunch advocate of international cooperation and the free market. As early as 1945, he foresaw that the Pacific, and not the Atlantic, would be the wave of the future. When socialism and central planning were the rage in 1955, he believed that the market, and not the state, would propel the region to record growth and development.
Soldier, journalist, diplomat, author, and educator, Romulo remains one of the Philippines’ greatest public servants and international thinkers.