UNESCO-Asia Pacific Network for International Education
and Values Education
Former Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports
(March 7, 1986 to Jan. 2, 1990)
Former Secretary-General of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines
(January 1990 – February 1998)
The appointment of Dr. Lourdes R. Quisumbing as the first woman Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports of the Republic of the Philippines by President Corazon C. Aquino (1986-1990) and later as Secretary‑General of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (1990-1998) are important milestones in a life dedicated to the educational mission.
Dr. Quisumbing's commitment to education is clearly manifested in her educational background and professional experience. She received her bachelor's degree in education summa cum laude from St. Theresa's College, Manila; a Master's degree, also in Education, summa cum laude from the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, and her doctorate in education benemeritus from the University of Sto. Tomas, Manila. She was sent as a Scholar of the National Science Foundation of America to the University of Colorado Summer Institute of Anthropology. Her doctoral dissertation on the concept of Filipino womanhood in the works of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal is indicative of her continued interest and concern for women and their development.
Dr. Quisumbing's professional expertise, however, cannot be limited to a single focus, having conducted extensive research in the Social Sciences and taught a variety of subjects in a spectrum of disciplines in the behavioral sciences: education, anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy and history, guidance and counseling. Her contributions to the behavioral sciences include research on marriage customs and child‑rearing practices in rural areas, and Filipino values, which is considered her most significant contribution to education and social science in the Philippines. Her appointment as Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, was instrumental to a holistic values education program which has led to the offering of values education as a separate subject in the secondary school curriculum and as an integrated subject in the elementary school.
Dr. Quisumbing has brought to the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and the Executive Board of UNESCO, Paris a wealth of experience in education. Immediately before her appointment to this position, she occupied the following positions: Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports of the Republic of the Philippines (1986-90); President of Maryknoll College Foundation, Inc., Quezon City (1978-86); Dean of the Graduate School of Education at De La Salle University in Manila (1977-78); Chairman of Graduate Education at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City (1966-76) and Professor in the Education and Anthropology departments of the graduate school (1974-77); Dean of St. Theresa's College in Cebu City (1967-77), Professor (1955-57), Guidance Coordinator (1963-67), Guidance Counselor (1957-67), high school and elementary teacher (1940-48) in that college. She was President of the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), Vice President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), and Board Member of several educational institutions when she became a member of President Corazon Aquino’s Cabinet. She was founding President of the Philippine Council for Global Education, Co-Director of the Commission on Women and Work, Asian Women's Institute, and Project Coordinator of Women in Asian Development (WADEV).
She was an International Visitor grantee of the US State Department in various U.S. universities and has attended several international conferences in Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, and in Education. She received numerous scholastic honors and service awards, including inclusion in the International Who's Who in Education; most outstanding woman in education, most outstanding alumna in education, and most outstanding faculty member in several educational institutions in the Philippines. She has traveled extensively to Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Hongkong, Australia, USA, Canada, France, Morocco, Switzerland, Belgium, U. K., Italy, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Mexico and South America. She has published monographs and many articles on varied subjects like women in decision-making. Filipino family, Philippine values, Child-rearing practices, Social Change, Women and Work in Asia, and Global Education. She has lectured extensively in the Philippines and abroad and has published both popular articles and scientific papers.
In August 1987, she received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Southern Carolina, U.S.A. in recognition of her contributions to education and the behavioral sciences, especially in the field of family life, women studies, and values education. She has likewise received a Doctor in Philippine Studies honoris causa, from the Mindanao State University, Marawi City (1992), a Doctor in Humanities, honoris causa, from the Far Eastern University, Manila (1999) and another Doctor in Humanities, honoris causa, from the San Beda College, Manila (2003).
Dr. Lourdes R. Quisumbing is an example of a woman who has been successful in combining a rewarding multifaceted career with her role as a wife and a mother to 9 children, who are now professionals in the academe, business, and government. Her experience as a family woman has undoubtedly lent a person-oriented dimension to her participative management style, stimulated her interest and contribution to research and programs on the Filipino family, as well as equipped her to head the largest bureaucracy in the Philippine government, its education department. With all this experience and expertise, she has contributed to UNESCO a depth and breadth of educational knowledge and practice, wide exposure to other fields of endeavor, and a proven commitment to the goals of peace, development, and international understanding.
As Philippine representative to UNESCO Executive Board in Paris (1991-1995), she was an ardent supporter of UNESCO’s programme thrusts, i.e. Education for All, the role of National Commissions as UNESCO’s partners, the decentralization policy, women’s contribution to a culture of peace, and education for peace and tolerance, human rights and democracy, a role she continues to fulfil as invited expert in various UNESCO activities here and abroad.
During the 44th session of the International Conference in Education in Geneva, October 1994, she received the Comenius Medal, an international award for educational research and practice, along with Paolo Freire of Brazil and Peter Pitha of the Czech republic. In 1995, she was elected President of the UNESCO-Paris Advisory Committee on education for Peace for Human Rights and Democracy, and President of APNIEVE (Asia-Pacific Network for International Education and Values Education).
Dr. Quisumbing has been sent by UNESCO Paris to several international fora on peace and non-violence (Sintra, Portugal), tolerance (Kwangju, Korea), masculine roles and a culture of peace (Oslo, Norway). She has just recently been selected as one of 3 women experts to advise the Director-General on women’s contribution to a culture of peace and the Culture of Peace program as a whole.
In 1998, she was invited as consultant and chosen to head a Graduate Education Committee by FAPE to assess and recommend quality graduate programs for FAPE-CHED scholars. She has recently been awarded by Miriam College the title of its first Professor Emeritus, as she continues to serve its graduate school as program consultant and its Board of Trustees as chairperson.
From 1995 to the present as the founding President of UNESCO-APNIEVE, and also President of APNIEVE-Philippines, Dr. Quisumbing with a team of expert trainors mostly from Miriam College and Philippine Normal University has been conducting training workshops for teachers from different regions of the Philippines as well as from other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region on Learning to Live Together in Peace and Harmony, Learning to Be Fully Human, and Learning to Do, three of the pillars of lifelong education needs to meet the challenges of the 21st century.