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22 October 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A growing number of Filipino-American students are interested in exploring employment opportunities in the Philippines after hearing about the economic transformation taking place in the homeland their parents left years ago.

The same is true with Filipinos college and post-graduate students in the United States who would rather return home and work in the Philippines when they finish their studies than seek employment elsewhere, according to Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.

“Most of the Filipino-American youths I have talked to see bright prospects for the Philippines and have expressed their desire to find work there,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “You would not be hearing this from them two to three years ago.”

Ambassador Cuisia cited a recent visit to Yale University where he noted the positive feedback from not only Filipino-American but also other foreign students who listened to his remarks on the economic achievements recorded by the Philippines under the leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

In his remarks, entitled “The Philippines on the World Stage,” before the “Global Perspectives Symposia” sponsored by the Kasama-The Filipino Club of Yale and the Yale International Relations Association, Ambassador Cuisia cited President Aquino’s good governance agenda for making possible the unprecedented economic growth the Philippines is experiencing.

“In terms of our quest for economic security, the Philippines has also pursued a long and difficult process of institutionalizing good governance, promoting the rule of law and ensuring transparency. The results are now obvious—revitalized institutions, confidence in what was once a struggling economy and greater opportunities opening up for the Filipino people,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

He cited projections made by Filipino economist Dr. Bernardo Villegas during an investment roadshow in the US early this year that the Philippine economy will grow at an average of 7 to 9 percent in the next 20 years.

“According to Dr. Villegas, this is a strong demonstration of the ‘tipping point’ phenomenon–the result of the transformational leadership changes and the policy reforms introduced in almost 30 years,” Ambassador Cuisia told Yale students.

Ambassador Cuisia also expressed surprise at the enthusiasm of Filipino-American students who asked many questions about the Philippines in the open forum that followed. “There seem to be this surge in their desire to learn more about the Philippines,” he said.

Kasama Co-President Ulysses Isidro is among those who was inspired by the Ambassador’s remarks and now wants to try his luck in the Philippines after graduation.  

"After hearing Ambassador Cuisia talk at Yale, I was reminded not to forget my heritage and now hope to visit and possibly work in the Philippines after graduation to learn more about my culture and country firsthand," said Isidro, a junior majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology whose parents are from Bataan and Capiz.

Hannah Gonzales, a sophomore majoring in History whose parents are from Manila said: “Although I knew quite a bit about the Philippines beforehand, Ambassador Cuisia added a new dimension to the Philippines' role on the world stage that I was not quite familiar with. Now, I can see the Philippines as both an emerging economy and a fun place to travel to.”  

Ambassador Cuisia’s visit to Yale and other American universities is part of his efforts to reach out to Filipino-American youth.  Since assuming office, Ambassador Cuisia and his wife, Maria Victoria, have actively been engaging Filipino-American youth leaders who they hope would help shape positive perceptions of the Philippines in the US.

It was Ambassador Cuisia who conceived the annual Filipino-American Youth Leaders Program (FYLPRO) that was able to bring in 20 youth leaders from across the United States since the project was launched in 2012.

He also engages Filipino-American youth through the annual Merienda with Ambassador Cuisia youth forum that was first held at the George Washington University in 2012. This year’s forum was held at the Catholic University of America. ###