Angara first Asian to get 'Royal Academy' honor

Shielo Mendoza
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

Senator Edgardo Angara has been elected a member of the prestigious Royal Academy in Cadiz, Spain, the first Asian to be accorded such honor.

Angara was appointed Corresponding Academic Member of the Real Academia Hispano Americana De Ciencias, Artes Y Letras (Hispano-American Royal Academy of Science, Arts and Letters) for his contributions in strengthening the Philippines' relations with Spain, Mexico and other Ibero-American nations.

“This is a great honor not only for myself, but also for our country and I thank the Royal Academy for the incomparable opportunity to be a member of their academic community,” Angara said in a statement.

“The Royal Academy is one of Spain's leading institutions on the humanities endowed with the unique role of promoting linkages with Hispanic nations in America. Now it is reaching out to Asia, primarily through the Philippines,” he added.

Angara has initiated the celebration of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day and the UNESCO-supported international Dia del Galeon festival.

He was also cited as an outstanding academic, having served as the president of the University of the Philippines, and for being a strong advocate of the development of education, culture and the arts, the statement said.

Founded in 1909 with King Juan Carlos I as Honorary President, the Royal Academy promotes cultural ties between Spain and Hispanic nations in Latin America.

The Royal Academy currently has Corresponding Academic Members from Spain, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Czech Republic and the United States.

“We share a common heritage and a common goal – to once again become partners in economic, social and academic development,” Angara said.

In line with his appointment, the senator will deliver an inaugural academic speech before the Royal Academy. Among his responsibilities will be to sit as a member of the committees overseeing printing of the Royal Academy's books and other publications.

Angara was previously awarded Spain's Premio Casa Asia in 2010, making him the first Southeast Asian to win the foreign policy prize. He is also the official representative of the Philippines to the Unión Latina, an organization consisting of 37 member-nations of the neo-Latin languages.