AMIC@50: In the Beginning

By Crispin C. Maslog, Founding member of AMIC*

The first time I met Y.V. Lakhsmana Rao, the founder of what was to become the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), which celebrates its golden jubilee this year, was by accident in the 1960s at the University of Minnesota. We were then both graduate students in communication. He was a tall, swarthy bearded Indian, with prescription glasses on a spare stern face and a strong personality that one could describe as hard to forget.

Long story short, Lakhsman went home to India to do grassroots research on the role of communication in development, which was the hot topic in communication scholarship at the time. The next time I met Lakhsman was in 1970 in Manila, where he was on a mission for UNESCO. It was then when I first heard of Rao’s project to organize Asian communication educators. He had solicited and received a grant of $500,000 from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung to set up a communication research and publications centre, which he planned to establish in Singapore.

On September 5, 1971 a group of us 13 Asian mass communication educators became the AMIC pioneers that formally launched the Asian Mass Communication Information and Research Centre, the old and original name for AMIC. We 13 Asian communication educators embarked September 5 on the AMIC Travelling Seminar--a long 7,500 mile, 25-day tour of 11 cities in Asia that I was privileged to join. We were understandably excited to embark on such a historical journey, the first of its kind. Although we vaguely considered it ground-breaking and looked forward to adventure, young as we were, we never thought, however, of comparing it to a Greek odyssey. But what we learned on that tour became the foundation stones for AMIC.

Since its founding in Singapore in 1971 the Asian Mass Communication Research and Information Centre (AMIC) moved to Manila in 2015 and changed its name to Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC). Its mission has expanded and matured--and turned golden after 50 years but its acronym has remained the same. AMIC always. 
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