Journ Classroom

June 7, 2007

Filipino Delivers Harvard Law School Commencement Address

Filed under: News — Luz Rimban @ 12:13 pm

Daly City, California–I picked up a copy of the Filipino weekly publication Philippine News and was pleasantly surprised to read in its front-page story that a Filipino will be delivering the commencement address at the Harvard Law School graduation tomorrow, June 7.

That Filipino is Oscar Barcelona Tan, a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law Class of 2005. Tan is an associate of the ACCRA Law Office in Manila who went on study leave to pursue his Master of Laws degree at Harvard.

Philippine News published Tan’s address, entitled “Like wine in the river, like citizens of the world.” Here’s an excerpt:

Dean Kagan, Vice-Dean Alford, professors, classmates, families, and friends. Let me first thank our tireless graduate program staff. They were the first friendly faces who greeted me, told me which functions offered free food, and what to do if you faint during your final exams. Assistant Dean Jeanne Tai, Nancy Pinn, Heather Wallick, Curtis Morrow, Jane Bestor, Chris Nepple, April Stockfleet: This year would not have been possible without you.

But this goes to everyone: Thank you all for truly making us feel part of this community. We LLMs became your fellow students after your Salsa Party, Chinese and Korean New Year, African Night, and our International Party. To honor you, we took Europe by storm, winning in the inaugural Negotiation Challenge, in the European Law Moot Court, and in the Willem Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court. Of course, you truly become part of Harvard Law School when you’re featured in the Parody.

Not so long ago, Cambridge seemed a strange, unfriendly place especially when I first saw Gropius. I went to John Harvard’s with the British, who began chittering in an alien language. I later discovered it was actually English – the real English. I complained I was not used to cold, but a Saudi Arabian reminded me that you can fry eggs on a sidewalk in Riyadh. An Italian gave me tips on women because Italian men are the world’s greatest lovers, with the disclaimer that their style does not work on American women. A Malaysian was asked to explain the religious significance of the color of her hijab, or headscarf. She would answer: It had to match her blouse.

Read the rest at the Philippine News website.

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