Philippine ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez (seated, left) enjoyed a lively discussion with the academic community of Boston. In attendance were Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega (seated, right), FYLPRO alumni and Harvard Ph.D. student Michael Vea (first row, left most), and Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz Popov (first row, 2nd from left).  (PCGNY photo)

During his official trip to Boston, Philippine ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez met with the academic community of Massachusetts for the first time in Harvard University on March 9, 2018.

He was accompanied by Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega and Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz Popov of the Philippine Consulate General in New York (PCGNY); and Minister Rosanna Voogel and First Secretary Gunther Sales of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The ambassador came from a Filipino food tasting event with Filipino-American chef Ellie Tiglao also in Harvard before proceeding to connect with the 23 students, faculty members and administrators at the session, happening the day before the annual Spring Break.

Initiating the conversation, Romualdez noted that the attendees have unique dualities coming from two different cultures — Filipino and American.

He advised them to make the best use of this situation to tap into the strengths of each culture to open opportunities for themselves and for their communities.


The ambassador’s advice for young Filipinos and Filipino-Americans — “Whatever you do, do it for the country.”  (PCGNY photo)

As an example, he noted the Filipino-American Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), the initiatives of the Philippine Consulate General in New York for the youth sector, such as the IT/Tech Career Mentoring program, University Talks, Diskubre Tour, and Pilipino Graduation (PGRAD), as venues for involvement and for leaving a positive impact on the country and the community.

The attendees took the occasion to ask the ambassador some questions on the efforts of the Philippine Government for the welfare of Filipino DACA recipients, the country’s economic development and achieving income equality, state of human rights in the Philippines, the health system, the freedom of the press, the dynamics between and leadership styles of Presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump, and his own personal story as a journalist-turned-diplomat.

De Vega conducted a Philippine tourism trivia contest for the students with Philippine tourism souvenirs from the Department of Tourism-New York office as prizes.

FYLPRO pilot batch alumnus Michael Vea, who is attending Harvard for his Ph.D. in Education, assisted the Consulate General in organizing the event.


From left, Michael Vea presents Harvard sweatshirts to Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez and Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega.  (PCGNY photo)


The students continue to engage the ambassador even after the program for more candid and personal questions.  (PCGNY photo)


Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega look on at the preparations for Ellie Tiglao’s “Taste of Tanam” event on Philippine cuisine with Philippine Agricultural Attaché Josyline Javelosa.  (PCGNY photo)

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