The UP Diliman (UPD) College of Science Student Council (CSSC) is circulating a petition against a forum on US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) grant opportunities, denouncing the US military for its oppressive use of advanced technology, particularly in the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.
The forum, titled “Information Session on the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant Opportunities,” is the next installment in UPD Office of International Linkages’s UMALOHOKAN series. It will be held on February 1 in collaboration with AFOSR’s Asian Office of Aerospace and Research Department (AOARD) based in Tokyo, Japan.
In the petition addressed to College of Science (CS) Dean Giovanni Tapang, CSSC asked for the event not to be held in their college and to be canceled altogether. The forum is set to be conducted at the CS Administration Building.
“[The forum] is the exact opposite of what the college stands for, that is, ‘Making Science Serve the People.’ We believe that technologies must be used for [the] greater good, for a just and peaceful society,” wrote CSSC in its petition, which was disseminated on Monday.
AOARD International Program Officer Todd Rushing will discuss how to apply for research grants from the AFOSR in the forum. These monetary grants are awarded to research that could be of interest to the US Air Force, as stated on the AFOSR website.
The AFOSR seeks to fund scientific research it may integrate into its development of weapons and technologies beneficial to US-involved wars and offensives, as detailed in the US Air Force Science and Technology Strategy. This strategy has resulted in three ongoing priority projects focused on combat aerial vehicles and communication satellites.
But the US military uses these advanced technologies for war crimes, said CSSC, citing the nation’s ongoing support for Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. In 2022, the US government committed USD3.3 billion in foreign aid to Israel, on top of supplying them with weapons.
The UPD University Council already proclaimed its support for Palestine in a statement on November 22, 2023. The council, which is UPD’s highest academic body, said Israel has been committing crimes against humanity in its attack of the Palestinian people, backed by Western allies.
“All academics, professionals, students, and the community, shall rally behind the oppressed nations, to break the chains of the US imperial grip [on] our lands, and to liberate our oppressed people,” said CSSC.
Signatories for the petition will still be accepted until Thursday. ●
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