Two Australia-educated Filipinos honoured with prestigious Global Australian Awards

Manila, Philippines – For the first time in over a decade, Filipinos have been awarded the prestigious Global Australian Awards by Advance, the Global Australian Network.

Australia Global Alumni Dr Armand Mijares and Professor Abelardo Apollo David Jr were finalists at the 2023 Global Australian Awards, which recognised the achievements of inspiring global Australians – including international alumni of Australian universities – who are innovating in their field and shaping the world.

Dr Armand Mijares, a renowned Filipino archaeologist, received the award for the Indo-Pacific Impact category. He led the team that discovered the ancient human species, Homo luzonensis, which is said to be one of the most important archaeological finds in recent years. He earned his PhD in Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology from the Australian National University. In 2022, the Australian Embassy in the Philippines also recognised him with a Special Citation at the Australia Alumni Excellence Awards, which annually celebrates the achievements of Australia-educated Filipinos.

“My Australian education has widened my perspective in archaeological research, preparing me for the challenges I faced in my research and discovery. I am honoured to be one of the Filipino recipients of this recognition. I share this achievement with my fellow Filipino Australia Global Alumni who have made – and are continuing to make an impact in their respective fields.” said Dr Mijares.

Meanwhile, Professor Abelardo Apollo David Jr, an occupational therapist and educator, was honoured with the award in the Alumni category for his work on addressing the needs of youth with special needs. He founded the Independent Living and Learning Centre, the biggest special education school in the Philippines which offers a progressive and inclusive curriculum. He also founded Academia Progresiva de Manila and the Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Adults and Children with Handicap (REACH) Foundation, which sets up community-based rehabilitation programs in poor and remote communities.

These organisations have helped over 2,200 Filipino youth with disability through inclusive curriculums and interventions such as medical, therapy, educational, recreational, and vocational services. Professor David received his Master of Occupational Therapy (Contemporary Practice) from the University of Queensland through the Australia Awards Scholarships. In 2019, the Embassy recognised him at the Australia Alumni Excellence Awards for his significant contributions in his field.

“Australia respected the vision I had for myself and for my country and sharpened it even further by giving me different perspectives to view it from. And that has certainly helped me to open my practice to a world of possibilities.” he said.

At the reception honouring the Filipino awardees, Dr Moya Collett, Australia’s Deputy Ambassador to the Philippines, said it was exciting to be able to celebrate these extraordinary gamechangers, and expected that more Filipinos with strong links to Australia would be nominated for the Awards in future years.

The Global Australian Awards showcase the achievements of inspiring global Australians who are innovating in their field and shaping the world. For more information and to read stories of the finalists, visit 2023 GAMECHANGERS – Advance The Global Australian Network