MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar has become the first Filipino to be conferred the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Federation University of Australia (FedUni).
In the awards ceremony held at the Caro Convention Center in the university’s Mount Helen Campus on Aug. 31, Andanar was recognized for his outstanding contribution to his chosen field of endeavor and continuous pursuit of excellence, both as a government official and as a private citizen.
In his acceptance speech, Andanar recalled his years at the University of Ballarat, the former name of the FedUni, in Victoria, Australia where he lived after studying for a year at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos.
He remembered how he juggled his studies and several part-time jobs as a carpet installer, a waiter in a Chinese restaurant, a radio producer in SBS Melbourne, and as a volunteer in the community station Triple B FM.
“It was a season of serious learning and self-discovery until my graduation in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social and Political disciplines, including Film and Media Studies. Sadly, however, I was not able to get my diploma because I was already working in my home country, the Philippines, chasing my dreams,” he said.
“It is therefore with great pride, honor and humility that I accept this Distinguished Alumnus Award the way I would have marched for my graduation diploma 18 years ago.”
The 43-year-old communications chief acknowledged that his years at the university serve as the foundation on which his present career is anchored and from which he draws “the strength to manage the media, communication and information programs for the government of a strong leader like our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte”.
He shared his award with his colleagues in the media, friends, and family, particularly his wife Alelee and his children, Alexa and Vince.
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from FedUni, Andanar went on to complete his Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). He also pursued doctoral studies at the University of the Philippines in Diliman but decided to focus more on his career.
In 2008, the US State Department granted Andanar and 30 other Filipino youth leaders a one-month fellowship at the Northern Illinois University. A year later, he participated in a leadership seminar at Georgetown University in Washington DC.
He also completed a Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University in March 2010 and attended a Public Communications Executive Course at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore in 2015.
This year, he attended the “Countering Violent Extremism” executive course at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and participated in the University of Hong Kong’s APAC news literary executive course.
Before joining the Duterte administration, Andanar was a multi-awarded television news executive, news anchor, radio commentator, podcaster, audio blogger and voice-over artist at TV5. Albert-Anthony Abando, PNA / ABN
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