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December 17, 2007

ULM First Lady welcomes cultural diversity

Embracing cultural differences results in opportunities, said ULM First Lady Deborah Cofer, guest of honor at the Philippine-American Association of Northeast Louisiana (PAANEL) annual Christmas affair.

PAANEL president Jennifer Teves, on behalf of the organization, invited Cofer to speak at the event, which was held Dec. 15 at the Bayou DeSiard Country Club.

Cofer told the story of meeting Jennifer’s uncle, who talked about the young woman in the Philippines. “He shared her story, her strengths, her intelligence and her many abilities. He knew that she would gain so much by being in the states and receiving additional education,” she said, with emotion in her voice. “Touched by his love for his sister’s child and how much he and his family would enjoy having her here in Monroe, we began the application process for graduate school at ULM.”

On Saturday, Jennifer graduated from ULM with a Master of Science degree in psychology. In an earlier interview, Jennifer said, “I wanted to pursue my graduate studies in the United States and since I was moving to another country by myself, my family and I thought it would be wise to enroll in a university near my relatives … Ms. Deborah Cofer was instrumental during my application process at ULM.”

Cofer concluded her comments by saying, “This experience teaches us the importance of blending people and cultures from all parts of the world. When you embrace differences in culture, language, religion and especially differences in perspective, we learn from our differences and are not polarized or paralyzed by them.”

ULM President James Cofer accompanied his wife to the event, which serves as an avenue for the Filipinos and Filipino-Americans to renew their ties with each other, to share memories, and to celebrate the Christmas Season with their families in the United States.

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