|Intro||Researcher, educator, art enthusiast|
Maria Pilar Lorenzo, MIP, MCADES, MPA, LPT
Maria Pilar Lorenzo is a PhD candidate at Ghent University's Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent and United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS). She completed Master of Science in International Politics (magna cum laude) and Advanced Master of Science in Cultures and Development Studies (cum laude) as a VLIR-UOS scholar at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Master of Public Administration (summa cum laude ranking, top of the cohort) at the University of the Philippines. She completed her bachelor's degree and high school both cum laude, and she was considered as one of her country’s Scholars of the Nation from kindergarten until graduate school. Apart from her training in Social Sciences, she is also interested in disciplines relating to Humanities, having taken courses on philosophy, music, languages, and arts.
As a researcher, she is fascinated with examining issues relating to higher education, regionalisation and governance. Her current (doctoral) research project examines the regional governance of higher education in Southeast Asia, particularly within the context of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Philippines. Recently, she formed part of a research team that provided strategic advice to the Philippine Education and Local Government sectors concerning the National Rightsizing Program. She also co-supervised a study on government innovations funded by the Local Government Academy and served as the Copy Editor of the latest Rapid Field Appraisal on Philippine Decentralization, Democratization and Development published by the Philippine Society for Public Administration and the United Nations Development Programme. Her research works have been published by Globalisation, Societies and Education, Edward Elgar Publishing, Center for Local and Regional Governance, Palgrave Macmillan, Graz University Press, United Nations Geneva, among others. In addition, her think pieces have appeared in various outlets like Channel NewsAsia, East Asia Forum, Eastern Focus Quarterly, Modern Diplomacy, Development Policy Centre, Conflict, Peace and Democracy Policy Blog, Shabka, Bookbed, and World Youth Alliance. Among these, her topmost-shared pieces according to Muckrack data are entitled “Worst time ever to be an overseas Filipino worker” (2,283 shares) and “Nation-building by reading” (1,675 shares).
She is currently an Associate Member of the National Research Council of the Philippines, a Member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, a Member of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program, and was recently a Fellow of the Regional Academy on the United Nations. She is also a licensed professional teacher through the Philippine Civil Service Commission’s Licensure for Teachers, and a certified trainer through Asian Development Bank’s JobStart Life Skills Trainer’s Program and German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Auslandshandelskammer Certification on Train the Trainer. She has been a recipient of cumulatively 70+ grants, scholarships, honors and awards including Ghent University-UNU-CRIS' BOF doctoral scholarship, STAR Scholars Network's Rising Star-Emerging Scholar Certificate and YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy Alumni Network's 2020 cohort of women leaders in Southeast Asia. She was also the sole fellow from Southeast Asia at the United Nations’ 57th Graduate Study Program in Geneva.
Prior to pursuing graduate studies, she was a development professional and educator whose work experience focused on managing technical-vocational schools for students from the marginalized sector and on providing holistic learning to young people so that they could be agents for social transformation. Her love for teaching and passion for sharing what she has learned made her devote some years to teach and mentor the youth. In her spare time, she likes to read, write, observe, walk around, play music, make art, converse with different sorts of people, and explore the variegated beauty of the world. Moreover, she has been involved in some volunteer work since high school. She has organized and raised funds for summer schools, leadership programs, cultural events, and visits to orphanages, home for the aged, indigent families, and public hospitals. Her present advocacy involves enhancing the appreciation of Filipino people towards research and science-based policy-making, and occasionally, she collaborates with Reredos, an artist collective that explores philosophical ruminations about life through various art media.