Passions and Obsessions

‘History does not repeat itself, it is the people repeating history’—Ambeth Ocampo

Robredo, Ocampo empower Filipino youth to cultivate ethical, inclusive leadership

(Left to Right) Filipino award-winning historian Dr. Ambeth Ocampo and former Vice President Atty. Leni Robredo

To foster comprehensive practices in leadership, former Vice President Leni Robredo and award-winning historian Dr. Ambeth Ocampo led a discussion on empowering the youth to cultivate holistic insights that may drive positive change in governance.


Credit: Benilde Center for Learning Resources

Dubbed as Inclusive Leadership: Quo Vadis? Bridging Divides and Creating History, the public discussion aimed to provide strategies and frameworks to enhance the capacity of individuals and institutions involved in governance.

Former Vice President Atty. Leni Robredo discusses her experience during her term as Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership in the United States (US)

During the event, Robredo shared her experiences as Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership in the US.

She recounted meaningful lectures and consultations with students, who were trained to be critical and tackle in-depth discussions beyond traditional textbooks. The human rights lawyer likewise encouraged the Filipino youth to expand their analytical thinking and challenge the status quo in order to navigate complex issues and thrive in a fast-paced world.

“Trust the future generation and give them the opportunity to immerse themselves on the ground and they will find their worth,” she noted.

Filipino award-winning historian Dr. Ambeth Ocampo explains the controversies and long-lasting impact of the works and efforts of the previous presidents of the Philippines

The above remark was echoed by Dr. Ocampo, who stated that historical narratives remind the public to hone their reflective analysis and cognitive scrutiny.

“History does not repeat itself, it is the people repeating history,” he stressed.

“History educates you not to accept anything unless it is validated. It becomes very subversive because if we know it and fight for it, people will realize that things don’t have to be the way they are.”

The prolific writer noted that this contrasted with the learning system in the country, which meant to enforce and build blind obedience to authority. He explained that education should center on the art of inquiry and develop valuable understanding to build a culture of continuous intellectual growth.

Atty. Robredo, the chairperson of the non-government organization Angat Pinas, Inc., advised the aspiring students to never lose aspiration due to obstacles.

“Just believe in yourself. I wish older folks will provide spaces for you so you can prove your value in those places,” she said.

She likewise advocated for the inclusion of the marginalized population and the establishment of people’s councils to provide platforms for underprivileged groups.

The former Camarines Sur representative said that the power of the sector starts from leaders who are willing to share it with the people. She underscored the importance of empathy and immersing oneself in the position of others to learn more about their perspectives and needs.

Dr. Ocampo then walked the audience through the controversies and long-lasting impact of the efforts and accomplishments of previous Philippine presidents.

The educator shared that several heroes in the past embarked on their most significant endeavors at a young age. He hoped their journeys inspired the learners to have faith in themselves and pursue their dreams with unwavering determination and perseverance.

“Opportunity is nothing without a skill, and it works in both ways,” he furthered.

The initiative was organized by the Social Science and the Theology-Philosophy Areas of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Multidisciplinary Studies (SMS).

(Left to Right) Filipino award-winning historian Dr. Ambeth Ocampo, Benilde School of Multidisciplinary Studies (SMS) Dr. Basilia Blay, and former Vice President Atty. Leni Robredo

Both Robredo and Ocampo presently hold seats as members of the Council of Advisers for the Benilde SMS General Education and Bachelor in Holistic Disciplines Programs.

Due to her outstanding achievements as a development worker, Atty. Robredo was selected as a Rockefeller fellow for the Bellagio Center Residency Program in Italy. She was recognized as the 2023 Most Distinguished Alumna by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association.

Dr. Ocampo is presently the Horacio de la Costa Professor of History and Humanities at the Ateneo de Manila University. He was bestowed with the Orden del Merito, established by King Alfonso XIII in 1926 in Spain.


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