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School leaders gather for the largest innovation convention

From L to R: Diwa Managing Director Ms. Elma L. Ropeta, Success Options Inc. President Mr. Francis J. Kong, Utah Valley University President Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez, MakerBay.Org Founder and Director Mr. Cesar J. Harada, National Teachers' College Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Edizon A. Fermin, and Diwa President Dr. Brian Vincent L. Belen

With the world changing more rapidly than ever, schools are obliged to keep up so that they can produce graduates who are ready for the demands of the future, where innovation is the most valuable currency. The culture of innovation in schools is created by leaders who possess a clear strategic vision, and the right amount of gumption to make it a reality.

To be effective advocates of 21st-century teaching and learning, more than 1,000 school leaders from across the country flocked to the SMX Convention Center Manila last December 2 to participate in the third run and by far the biggest staging of Diwa Innovators’ Congress (#DiwaICON3). #DiwaICON3 is a learning opportunity that aims to equip education leaders with the mindset and skills that will help them remain effective and relevant in the 21st century. With the theme “Leadership in the Innovation Age,” #DiwaICON3 illuminates the minds of Filipino education leaders and inspires them to initiate positive changes that will propel their schools to the future.

A powerhouse set of local and international leaders were invited to give #DiwaICON3 participants a chance to reflect on their role as advocates of innovation, keep their strategies and plans attuned with the changing times, and get ahead and remain ahead.

Setting the entire tone of the congress was Dr. Brian Vincent L. Belen, President of Diwa Learning Systems Inc. (Diwa) and Bato Balani Foundation Inc. (BBFI), who explained in his keynote talk the reasons why innovation is so hard in education and how educators and school leaders can approach and overcome the barriers to educational innovation.

Meanwhile, inspirational speaker and Success Options Inc. President Francis J. Kong utilized his session to encourage participants to use their influence as leaders to transform their schools into hotbeds of creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Also joining the roster of speakers was Cesar J. Harada, a renowned TED Talks speaker and the Director and Founder of MakerBay.Org, the first full-scale MakerSpace that empowers artists, designers, engineers, scientists, and even students to work together on meaningful creative projects with social and environmental impact. His talk allowed the participating school leaders to understand the concept of Maker Education and how their respective schools and students can possibly benefit from it.

The first Filipino female president of Utah Valley University Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez was also invited to take the floor. During her session, she shared her personal thoughts and experiences about running an educational institution in the Innovation Age, helping teachers cope with technological change, and responding to the needs of highly digital learners.

Moreover, a moderated panel discussion with the speakers was conducted towards the end of the congress to create an interactive synthesis of the learnings from the different sessions of the day. It was facilitated by Dr. Edizon A. Fermin, Vice President for Academic Affairs of National Teachers College.

Launched in 2017, Diwa iCON is just one of the many innovative training opportunities provided for educators and school leaders alike to effectively capture and keep the ever-changing interests of students, both now and in the future. For the past two years, Diwa iCON has taught educators how to use Design Thinking to elevate their teaching and learning environments. This series of learning opportunities was organized by the country’s leading educational publisher Diwa, in partnership with its social development arm BBFI.

“This program envisions to produce school leaders whom others can look up to as catalysts for creative and innovative teaching, always fervent in producing globally competitive and lifelong learners,” shared by Mr. Armel M. Espiritu, Diwa’s Vice President for Corporate and Marketing Communications.

To know more about Diwa and its other innovative programs and product offerings, visit or follow them on Facebook at

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