Sungduan: Excellence award

Stand-Up for Life

AN ILOCANO educator, writer, and poet based in Hawaii continues to be an inspiration to many Filipinos with his numerous works and awards wherein the latest is the Filipino-American leaders award recognizing his efforts in the field of education.

Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili received the Excellence in Education Award from the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. A similar recognition was also given to him by Governor David Ige of Hawaii and Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu for his achievements in education and for the community.

He was recognized for his achievements in education, a commitment he started in the Philippines prior to his immigrating to the United States 16 years ago. Previously, Dr. Agcaoili received recognitions such as the University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellorís Certificate in Meritorious Teaching, the United Filipino Community of Hawaii Progress Award for Excellence in Education, and the University of the Philippine Outstanding Associate Professor Award.

As a writer, he also received several prestigious creative writing awards which include the Centennial Literary Prize for the Tagalog novel, the Cultural Center of the Philippines grant for poetry, the Commission on the Filipino Language prize for the critical essay and poetry, the Carlos Palanca Awards for Ilokano fiction and essays in English, the Belmonte Grant for the novel, and the Rizal Awards in Los Angeles for the English essay.

It was in 2006, the 100th year of the coming of the sakadaóthe Ilokano plantation workers to Hawaii when he founded the Nakem Conference, an academic organization which aims to pursue linguistic justice, cultural democracy, and emancipatory education. The conference of Nakem is held each year in either the Philippines or in Honolulu.

In 2007, through the help of the various academics of the Philippines and of the Mariano Marcos State University, the Philippine branch of the Nakem Conference was established. His advocacy work in the thriving and promotion of all the languages of the Philippines continues believing that the deprivation of the various ethnolinguistic groups of their mother or community languages is the main reason why students lack the necessary skills in their academic training today.

Moreover, Dr. Agcaoili has written a lot of works including the four-volume dictionary on Ilokano languages and various literary and critical form including a book on Ilokano philosophy.

He is one of the pillars in the founding of the Master of Arts in Education major in Ilokano Studies program at the Mariano Marcos State University, the first-ever program of its kind in the entire country.

Congratulations to Dr. Agcaoili! May you continue to be an inspiration to all, especially to the Filipino writers and educators around the globe.

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