The Trudeau Foundation Scholarship has been a truly incredible gift. The generous financial support for advanced studies in a country that is not my own is only one of its numerous benefits. The scholarship provided an extraordinary amount of freedom, because the ability to travel to do research across several countries and continents has undeniably enriched my intellectual explorations with direct practical experiences and observations. Regular meetings, conferences, and activities gave me many opportunities to directly interact with some of Canada’s best thinkers of the present and future, and access to a remarkable community of dedicated students, teachers, and practicioners involved in some of the most pressing social issues of this day. I am always struck by the deep reflection, introspection, and philosophical consideration that this community is engaged in, and admire how freely, openly, candidly, and forthrightly these deliberations take place regardless of social status or political inclination. My participation in the Trudeau Foundation community has contributed immensely to my own research, and to it I owe a lot of ideas, from little insights to entire theoretical frameworks, that underpin my doctoral dissertation.
Participation in the Foundation has not only supported my professional advancement, but also my personal growth and development. In the often solitary world created by doctoral research and writing, the Trudeau community also offers a solace unmatched by any other scholarship-granting institution that I know of. Though thousands of miles often separate the Foundation’s membership, the all-too-brief moments of camaraderie have created the most memorable bonds of personal friendship among a number of extraordinary people, whom I feel truly fortunate to have met, from Scholars to Fellows, Mentors, Officers, and Staff.
The Trudeau community’s supportive atmosphere, convivial culture, and prodigious intellectual capital, have reaffirmed my faith in a life of public service. Interacting with the Trudeau community has given me a glimpse into the aspirations and possibilities of the ‘just society’ that Canada aspires to be, and doing my research in the Philippines has demonstrated how far we still need to go in order to set forth on a similar path. Although I have already spent most of my legal career back home in occupations and positions that sought to contribute to the public good, my experiences with the Foundation have proven to me that there are still many ways in which I can still help, and that I am still very much needed. The Trudeau Foundation’s legacy to me, personally, thus includes a renewed hope and fresh inspiration; a heightened sense of purpose and determination to work toward a society that is characterized by freedom and justice. It is the kind of altruism that moves dreamers and idealists, but informed by the insight that inspires intellectuals and practicioners.
Freedom, friendship, hope, and inspiration: these are among the most invaluable gifts that the Trudeau Foundation has bestowed. These are the truly remarkable endowments that I have had the honor and privilege of being blessed with, and I truly wish I can help change some part of the world with.