24 September 2015 – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario was conferred a Doctor of Laws degree (honoris causa) by the College of Mount Saint Vincent, the alma mater of the late President Corazon Aquino, in New York today.
Mount Saint Vincent College, based in New York City, conferred the honorary degree on Secretary Del Rosario in recognition of his “principled commitment to democracy, integrity, and the rule of law both at home and around the globe.”
“Albert del Rosario, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, you are celebrated for fulfilling President Aquino’s vision both within the Department of Foreign Affairs and in relations with other nations. You have reformed the organization and the culture of the Department, shifting it from seniority and patronage to merit, efficiency, and accomplishment. With your leadership, the Department tirelessly advocates for the protection of Filipino workers abroad, including the many victims of human trafficking. With your leadership, the Department effectively promotes economic cooperation and development. And with your leadership, the Department now seeks the peaceful, legal resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea--one of the world’s most perilous and potentially consequential international conflicts,” read Charles L. Flynn, President of The Mount, who conferred the degree upon Secretary Del Rosario.
“I am truly humbled to be honored by the Mount Saint Vincent after President Corazon Aquino, a Mount alumna, and President Benigno S. Aquino III who were both previously recognized by this outstanding institution,” Secretary Del Rosario said during the convocation ceremony attended by The Mount’s Board of Trustees, faculty members, students, DFA officials, and the Secretary’s immediate family.
“My visit today has a highly valued significance as I have just become the fourth Del Rosario graduate of Mount Saint Vincent,” the Secretary explained.
Fifty years ago, Secretary Del Rosario and his wife Mrs. Gretchen Del Rosario lived just a short walk from the Mount Saint Vincent Campus. Three of the Secretary’s sisters were Mount graduates.
The Secretary said that the Department of Foreign Affairs shares The Mount’s commitment to institutional integrity and commitment.
“I consider the honor bestowed on me today as recognition also for the hardworking men and women of the Philippine Foreign Service,” he said.
After the conferment of the Honorary Degree, Secretary Del Rosario discussed key Philippine Foreign Policy advocacies such as migration governance, the Philippines-US alliance, the South China Sea, and the future of Philippine Foreign Policy.
On migration, the Secretary underscored that the Philippine policy focuses on two important considerations: that (1) migration must be a shared international responsibility; and (2) migrants’ human rights must be fully respected in all circumstances.
On the Philippines-US alliance, Secretary Del Rosario emphasized that because of our shared history democratic values and aspirations, our enduring partnership has contributed to peace and stability in the region and the world.
On the South China Sea issue, the Secretary said that with the growing support from the international community in peacefully resolving disputes in the South China Sea, including through arbitration, “the Philippines believes that the final outcome of this arbitration process would pave the way for a settlement of the maritime disputes.”
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity as the first institution to offer higher learning for women in New York, the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent’s Charter was amended in 1911 to become the College of Mount Saint Vincent, which, in 1974, became a co-ed institution.
President Corazon Aquino was conferred in 1984 an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and in 1986, received The Mount’s highest honor – The Elizabeth Seton Medal – as Asia’s icon of democracy and “embodiment of this Institution’s highest ideals.”
Her son, President Benigno S. Aquino III received The Elizabeth Seton Medal in 2010.
“The Honorary Doctor of Laws that the Mount Saint Vincent has conferred upon me will always be my treasure as well as my inspiration,” the Secretary concluded. END