The Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF, also referred to as the Fulbright Commission in the Philippines) held a 2-day Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) for its US-bound Filipino scholars this Fall 2014 last May 22-23, 2014 at its office in Makati City. Thirty-six Filipino talented grantees representing four programs under the Fulbright umbrella (i.e., Fulbright Student Program, Fulbright Advanced Lecturing/Research Program, Foreign Language Teaching Assistants Program, and the Fulbright-Philippine Agriculture Scholarship Program); and the Hubert H. Humphrey, and Global Undergraduate Exchange scholarship programs participated in this year’s PDO, which is a requisite component toward better academic and cultural adjustment to life in the United States.
Ms. Kristin Kneedler, U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer and PAEF Board Treasurer opened this year’s (PAEF) Pre-departure Orientation (PDO) program. Other speakers included recently returned Filipino Fulbright, FLTA, FPASP, Humphrey and Global UGrad scholars, officers of the different alumni organizations, Mr. Izaak Martin, consular officer, Non-Immigrant Visa Unit at the US Embassy Manila, CFO senior PDOS officer Nico Herrera, and Dr. Esmeralda Cunanan, PAEF Executive Director. Mr. Abdulmari DL Imao, a Fulbright alumnus was this year’s keynote speaker who shared his Fulbright experience and gave an inspirational message about taking full advantage of the scholarship oppotunity, coming home, and paying forward.
The highlight of the program was a dinner reception honouring the scholars that was hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, the Honorable Philip Goldberg, on May 22, 2014 at the Charles Parsons Ballroom at the US Embassy. Ambassador Goldberg gave a short speech on the importance of the various programs in nation building and development and the roles of scholars in strengthening the relations between the US and the Philippines through international educational exchanges. The reception gave the US-bound scholars the opportunity to meet with alulmni who shared invaluable advice about what to expect from U.S. institutions of learning, how to make best use of the educational and travel opportunities, and how best to budget time to make their experience in the U.S. not only educationally, but, also personally rewarding. On May 23, 2014, the scholars and their families were recognized by Ms. Bettina Malone, PAEF Board Chairperson and Public Affairs Counselor, PAEF Board member Mr. Oscar Hilado, and PAEF executive director, Dr. Esmeralda Cunanan at a Fulbright Closing Ceremony. It was a fitting end to a stimulating and productive 2-day PDO.