By Bernadette E. Tamayo
TWO Filipinos have been chosen as finalists at the 2023 Global Australian Awards for their “significant work” in their respective fields, the Ambassador of Australia to the Philippines Hae Kyong Yu said.
“I am extremely proud of our Filipino Australia Global Alumni Dr. Armand Mijares and Professor Abelardo David Jr. who were recently recognized as Game Changers,” Yu wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
The ambassador on Monday said Mijares is “a renowned Filipino archaeologist who led the team that discovered Homo Luzonensis.”
Abelardo has “dedicated his career to create inclusive education and development opportunities for Filipino youth with disabilities,” Yu added.
According to advance.org, the Global Australian Awards recognize global Australians – including Australians living and working overseas, international alumni of Australian universities, and recent migrants to Australia “who are innovating in their field and shaping the world.”
Mijares, a professor of Archaeology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, specializes in early human migration from Africa to Southeast Asia, advance.org said.
He took his doctorate degree in Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology at the Australian National University in 2002.
Mijares gained global recognition in 2019 after he and his team discovered the bones of two adults and a child during multiple archaeological digs in Callao Cave, from a previously unknown human-related species now called Homo Luzonensis.
Through uranium-series dating, the bones were found to be 50,000 to 67,000 years old – making them the “earliest human remains to be discovered in the Philippines,” advance.org said.
David is an occupational therapist and educator who has dedicated his career to creating inclusive education and development opportunities for “differently-abled children across the Philippines,” advance.org said.
Widely known as “Teacher Archie,” he has founded organizations aimed at driving accessible and inclusive health, education and livelihood programs for marginalised communities, it added.
He started his career studying Occupational Therapy at UP. During his internships, he discovered his passion for working with children with developmental conditions such as autism, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy.
After graduating, he started teaching at UP, before travelling to Australia to undertake a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Queensland.
By Bernadette E. Tamayo