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03/04/2012: Memphis Festival Executives Brief Media and FilAm Community Representatives

Ambassador Jose Cuisia (center) meets with Embassy officers and officials of the Memphis in May International Festival (MIMIF), including  Mr. James Holt (third from right), President and CEO, Mr. Calvin Anderson (second from right), 2012 Board Chairman, Mr. Randy Blevins (rightmost), Vice President for Programming.

03 April 2012, Washington DC.  Executives of the Memphis in May International Festival (MIMIF) met with Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. today to discuss final preparations for the month-long series of events.  The MIMIF officials included Mr. James Holt, President and CEO, Mr. Calvin Anderson, 2012 Board Chairman, and Mr. Randy Blevins, Vice President for Programming.

Mr. Holt disclosed that among the criteria used in choosing the Philippines as this year’s honored country were its historical significance, cultural depth, democratic credentials, political stability, positive relations with the U.S., and potential for strengthening existing and developing trade opportunities.  He also noted the productive and enjoyable trips undertaken to the Philippines to firm up the participation of several performers and speakers in the Festival and expressed the group’s gratitude for the Embassy’s assistance in ensuring their success.

Ambassador Cuisia reiterated his appreciation to the Festival officials for the privilege bestowed upon the Philippines to showcase the country’s culture.  He added that the event will hopefully encourage Americans to see firsthand the beauty of the islands and experience the warmth and hospitality of the Filipino people.

Following their meeting, the Ambassador and MIMIM officials held a briefing with representatives from the media and Filipino American community.

Mr. Calvin Anderson, MIMIF Board Chairman, answers a question during the lunch briefing with members of the press and leaders of the Filipino American community at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy.

Among the artists scheduled to perform in Memphis are the world renowned Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company, Worldwide Family of Arnis, and Filipino rock band Spongecola. Filipino chef Claude Tayag of the restaurant Bale Dutung in Pampanga, who was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, will also be in Memphis to prepare a special dinner fare at the historic Peabody Hotel. The famous Cebu lechon (roasted pig), courtesy of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, will compete in the World Championship Barbecue Contest. Critically-acclaimed films from the Philippines will also be shown at the Memphis Film Series.  And, exhibits will run in several of the city’s museums from May 1 to 31.  Additional information concerning the Festival may be found at www.memphisinmay.org.  END