Australian-educated Filipinos promote volunteerism and social change to 'give back' to the Philippines

Australian-educated and trained Filipinos across the country gathered in a one-and-a-half day national conference to discuss and share ideas on how they could give back more to the Philippines. Organised by the Philippines Australian Alumni Association (PA3i), the conference is a platform to empower alumni to become agents of social change and development in the Philippines.

Australian-educated and trained Filipinos across the country gathered in a one-and-a-half day national conference to discuss and share ideas on how they could give back more to the Philippines. Organised by the Philippines Australian Alumni Association (PA3i), the conference is a platform to empower alumni to become agents of social change and development in the Philippines.

The PA3i national conference, with the theme “I am PA3i. I am Change.” brought together some of the movers and shakers of social change in the Philippines like Tony Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga; Gang Badoy-Capati, founder of RockEd Philippines; Ma. Alexandra Eduque, founder and ambassador of Habitat for Humanity Youth Council; Atty. Alexander Lacson, author of the book 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country; and Governor Edgar Chatto of Bohol Province, to challenge and encourage the alumni to contribute to nation-building, particularly applying knowledge and experiences gained from their Australian education.

During the fellowship night, Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell commended the alumni for exemplifying the undying spirit that has inspired millions of Filipinos across the globe, and for putting their Australian education to good use through meaningful and noteworthy causes.

“The Australian Government recognises the important role that the Filipino alumni play as our partners in development. We are pleased that these Filipinos, equipped with enhanced knowledge and skills through their Australian education, are taking on a more proactive role in initiating projects that aim to change the lives of more people. The theme of this year’s conference embodies PA3i’s response to the challenge of effecting meaningful change, which is also at the core of the Australian Government's development assistance and other programs in the Philippines,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

In support of the Global Australia Alumni Network, Ambassador Tweddell also announced a Php 2.7 million competitive Alumni Grant Scheme that will provide opportunity for the alumni to build and strengthen their professional, business, and personal networks and relationships in the Philippines and Australia, and enable an environment to exchange ideas and promote worthy causes. “We look forward to hearing great stories of growth and development as our alumni, equipped with their Australian education, realize their unlimited potential and create ripples of change in both community and national levels,” Ambassador added.

The PA3i is the umbrella organisation of scholars and graduates of formal degree and non-degree training programs offered by Australian universities and training institutions. It was pioneered by the Australian Embassy in 2000 to promote lifelong relationships among alumni and to build a partnership in development. Since then, PA3i has been actively collaborating with the Australian Embassy in initiating socially-relevant projects.

Following the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, PA3i’s mission to initiate and engage in meaningful activities became stronger. “Our theme this year sums up our aspirations for ourselves and for our association. It is a call for us, as beneficiaries of a rich and broadening experience of the Australian culture and education, to apply what we learned to making a difference in our country,” said Simeon P. Marfori II, president of PA3i.

For more information on PA3i and its activities, visit www.pa3i.org.

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