Second Secretary and Consul Rommel Romato (second from right) joins the other Education Attaché of the Year nominees after the awarding ceremony at King’s College London on 16 July 2018. Together with them is Elizabeth Stewart (third from left), Editorial and Programme Director of Embassy Magazine. Photo courtesy of Embassy Magazine

23 July 2018 LONDON—Second Secretary and Consul Rommel A. Romato was nominated together with six others for Embassy Magazine’s Education Attaché of the Year award.  The prestigious award aims to recognize the efforts of outstanding diplomats in forging strong people-to-people connections through education diplomacy.

This year is the first time one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) most prestigious magazines for diplomats is conferring this award.  The nominations were announced during the 2018 Education Conference at King’s College London on 16 July 2018.

“I’m humbled and grateful for the recognition,” said Romato.  “It’s a privilege to be part of the Philippine Embassy’s efforts to promote Philippine academic diplomacy in the UK.”

Romato’s efforts in education diplomacy are focused on engaging Filipino students in the UK and in strengthening the Philippine studies programme in British higher education.

In the past years, Romato institutionalized regular professional and students networking events at the Embassy as a way of establishing ties between the Embassy and overseas Filipino students in the UK.  He spearheaded the Philippine Ambassador’s public lectures in top UK universities.  In 2015, Romato co-founded and organized the London Education and Research Network (LEARN) with other diplomats and education attachés.

“I can say that our bilateral relations have been enhanced by our cooperation in education, scholarship, and capacity-building, among others.  The UK is home to some of the world’s best universities and best minds who have contributed in advancing knowledge.  I hope we can benefit from this by continuing to establish relevant partnerships between Philippine and British universities,” he said.

In 2016, Romato ignited the discussion between the Philippine Embassy and SOAS University of London in order to strengthen the university’s Philippine studies programme.  This has led to a series of Philippine Studies Conferences aimed at gathering subject-matter experts who are keen on probing critical issues related to Philippine culture. 

The partnership between the Philippine Embassy and SOAS eventually caught the attention of one of the Philippine Senate’s staunchest cultural advocates, thus persuading the Philippine Government to support the project.

The Philippine Government turned over an initial donation of GBP 75,000.00 to SOAS in order to strengthen the school’s Philippine Studies programme.  An addition GBP 115,000.00 will be turned over this year.  The donation is the largest of its kind extended by the Philippine Government in order to strengthen the ties between Filipino and British researchers who are keen on studying Philippine culture.

“The recognition received by Consul Romato is an honour for the Embassy and for the Philippines,” said Ambassador Antonio Manuel Lagdameo.  “Consul Rommel has demonstrated through his trailblazing initiatives that anything is possible through hard work, dedication, and vision.”

Romato is an alumnus of the prestigious Oxford University Foreign Service Programme and is currently the Embassy’s Economic Officer.  He hails from Southern Mindanao.

The other nominees are Facundo Santiago, Argentina; Huseyn Huseynov, Azerbaijan; Prof Dr Zainal Sanusi, Malaysia; Dr. Abdulaziz Almagushi, Saudi Arabia; Sinenhlanhla Sithole, South Africa; and Dr. Mohamed Elansari, United Arab Emirates (UAE). END

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