Envoy urges UPenn students: ‘Raise profile of Filipino Americans’

Members of the Penn Philippine Association

Members of the Penn Philippine Association

“Elevate the presence of the Filipino Americans in the U.S.”

That was the message of Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr. to the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Philippine Association during a presentation in October. The symposium was held to commemorate Filipino American Heritage Month, where De Leon was the keynote speaker. The consul general cited the developments which have helped shape the “economic resiliency” of the Philippines in the wake of global financial downturn experienced in America and Europe. He went on to describe the impressive performance of the Philippine economy, and the confidence that the international community and financial institutions on the country’s investment potential. He emphasized the underlying framework of the government, which is its commitment to “good governance and transparency” which, he said, led to the positive transformations.

On Philippine-U.S. relations, De Leon said the United States is one of the Philippines’ most important allies, drawing from more than a century of shared history. He expounded on the mutually beneficial relationship of the two democracies, from military and defense partnerships, to socio-political and commercial collaboration.

De Leon shared some interesting insights about the Filipino diaspora, with emphasis on the U.S. Northeast. He said Filipinos, being the second largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S. at 3.4 million, should be more engaged in their community and the U.S. society in general. Out of that number, about 340,000 is covered by the consulate in New York, which undertakes leadership seminars, cultural and community events, and dialogues to discuss important political and social issues. Particular to the youth sector, he promoted the Filipino Youth Leadership Program, or FYLPRO, and more proactive approaches to reach out to the younger generation by holding events that capture their interest and being more active in social media.

Summing up his presentation, De Leon left an inspiring call to action to the students: “Continue to be proud Filipino Americans and elevate our presence. Find your passion and be committed to making a genuine contribution. Live out your own stories!”

Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. receives a UPenn tote bag from the students. Photo by Joan May Cordova

Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. receives a UPenn tote bag from the students. Photo by Joan May Cordova

One Comment

  1. M. Matthews wrote:

    I would like to commend the writer for writing this article to raise the profile of Filipino Americans in the USA in all fields of endeavors including socially and politically.

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