The Board of Trustees grieves the loss of APPFI’s Founding President, Dr. Aileen San Pablo-Baviera, one of the eminent Sinologists in the Philippines. The news of her death brought in an outpouring of condolences from her associates around the world, expressing their sorrow for the departure of a colleague known for her commitment, excellence and humility.
Since she returned in 1983 from her studies at the Beijing Language Institute and Beijing University, she was one of the young scholars who actively contributed to the development of Chinese and ASEAN studies. She pursued these throughout her teaching career as professor of the University of the Philippines, as well as in her academic publications and presentations in local and international conferences.
In 2003, the University of the Philippines recognized her outstanding accomplishments and appointed her as Dean of the Asian Center. In 2015, she was conferred the U.P. Distinguished Alumna Award.
Dr. Baviera was known for her balanced and sober analysis while unswerving in her commitment to the Philippine national interest and her passionate advocacy for world peace. She served as a member of the Board of Advisers of the Philippine Navy, and as Head of the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies of the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
She worked with fellow China-watchers in the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies and Philippines-China Development Resource Center to help strengthen linkages with the Nanjing-based Amity Foundation and the China Association for NGO Cooperation. As President and CEO of the Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, Inc. (APPFI), she helped cultivate partnerships and networks among governmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and academic institutions in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific. In 2018, under her leadership, APPFI was accredited as the Philippine representative to the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS). APPFI served as ASEAN-ISIS Chair in 2019.
Equipped with a holistic perspective, Dr. Baviera appreciated the important role of the other players in Asia Pacific, such as the United States, Japan and Australia. She had been since 2010, the Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Politics and Policy Studies. She was invited by think tanks and universities such as Yale to present the Philippine case in 2016.
As APPFI President, she devoted her energies in the last few years to gather together and inspire a new generation of scholars who we hope will carry on her legacy. Janus Isaac Nolasco, her former student and Managing Editor of the Asian Studies journal of the U.P. Asian Center, stated in his tribute that “the extent of her network is staggering, and her stature in international academe no less so. ..Her passing is an undeniably immeasurable loss for her family and for the scholarly community, both in and out of the Philippines.”
On 1st July 2020, the National Security Council conferred on her a posthumous award for her “impeccable expertise, unselfish efforts and untiring assistance” she provided to the NSC “throughout the years as one of the Philippines’ leading scholars, practitioners and policy advisers on bilateral, regional and international affairs.” It further commended “her commitment and advocacies in the academe and public service” which made her “one of the country’s stalwarts on building, strengthening and advancing
Philippines’ national interests and Philippines-China relations.” The award was given by Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr., on the occasion of the 70th founding anniversary of the Council.
In grateful recognition of her illustrious legacy to policy studies, promotion of people-to-people relations, and academic expertise for regional cooperation and peace, the APPFI Board wishes to place on record this testimonial in honor of Dr. Aileen San Pablo-Baviera, leading Filipino intellectual, patriot and peace-maker.