10 October 2021, Paris: Philippine Embassy in Paris hosted in the chancery the Orientation and Welcome Seminar of the Overseas Filipinos’ Leadership, Innovation, Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship Program of the Ateneo de Manila University. All participants were obligated to present their COVID vaccination certificates for validation, before entering the premises. The venue was properly ventilated and social distancing was observed.

27 October 2021, Paris – On the second Sunday of this month, the Philippine Embassy welcomed to the Chancery the incoming Filipina and Filipino student-participants for the Orientation and Welcome Seminar of the Overseas Filipinos’ Leadership, Innovation, Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship Program of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Nicknamed as OF-LIFE ALSE, the 2021 program is the fifth iteration in Paris, France, the first one where all sessions were to be done online and which included the collective participation of overseas Filipina and Filipino (OFs) from France, Netherlands, Geneva, Rome and Milan.

The program’s social media account explains that “The OF-LIFE/ALSE is an empowerment program targeting overseas Filipinos (OFs), mostly working in ‘3 D’ types of jobs: (difficult, demeaning, de-skilling, or dangerous.) The program aims to transform their mindsets particularly for the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families and provide them with basic skills in Leadership, Social Innovation, Financial Literacy, and Social Entrepreneurship.

The program is a certificate course as part of the Executive Education Program of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) and all graduates are recognized as alumni of the Ateneo de Manila University.

The OF-LIFE/ALSE has been offered in Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands in Europe; in the Middle East in Doha, Qatar, and in the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai). In Asia, it has been offered in Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines as well as in Hong Kong and Macau, and in Japan. Over 3,000 Overseas Filipinos are alumni of this program in its decade of existence.”

10 October 2021, Paris – L: Secretariat Head Mimi Agbay-Duhamel explains the program fundamentals to the incoming student-participants. R: PH Embassy’s Minister/Consul Christina Rola McKernan delivers the opening remarks.

In her opening remarks, Minister and Consul Christina Rola Mckernan of the Philippine Embassy in Paris commended the secretariat of the OF-LSE, spearheaded by Ms. Mimi Agbay-Duhamel, for having started this program and for persevering to keep it running, “now for the 5th time despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Consul McKernan recalled her time in the Philippine Embassy in Brussels; how she was honored to be instrumental in starting the ALSE there in 2013 and having had the opportunity to interact closely with the then Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio “Tony” La Viña, whilst traveling with him from The Hague to Brussels to attend the ALSE Belgium’s first graduation ceremony.

Consul McKernan remarked, “I have seen how this program has boosted the morale of our kababayans abroad, providing many of them with a more meaningful direction in life and how some have eventually become the “entrePinays and entrePinoys” that they were destined to be. I am happy that even a pandemic could not stop this program from realizing its vision. It is in fact because of the pandemic that this program could do a whole lot of good for our countrymen, now more than ever”.

Consul McKernan, who had made the decision to join as a participant of the current batch 103 said “Thank you to the organizers for giving me this unique opportunity to join you all as a student-participant myself, as the purely online mode makes it accessible even to me, despite my current work and personal commitments.

I look at this chance to be able to see through the eyes of the OF participants, who are here with me today, and I hope my participation would serve as an inspiration to others to say that no matter what your age and whatever your calling, it is never too late to learn something new or different that ultimately benefits yourself, your family and those surrounding you. I look forward to all the learnings from the resource speakers and those from my co-participants’ life stories, both the struggles and the successes.”

The 2021 OF-LIFE ALSE has since had its first session on October 17 and is scheduled for another this Sunday, October 31. The program is due to be completed in a period of nine months, totaling 15 Sunday sessions, including the graduation ceremony set for mid-June.

10 October 2021, Paris – The OF-ALSE alumni and secretariat team for Paris at Philippine Embassy

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