BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 01, 2022

Berkeley Filipino language program wins Champions of Language Award

article image

DENICE SY-MUNEZ | COURTESY

UC Berkeley's Filipino language program offers the highest number of Filipino courses on the U.S. mainland, according to campus senior lecturer Joi Barrios-LeBlanc.

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2022

The UC Berkeley Filipino language program was awarded the Kampeon ng Wika award, or language champion award, by the Philippine national Commission on the Filipino Language for its contributions in advancing and promoting the Filipino language.

UC Berkeley is the first American university to receive the award, according to a campus press release. Awardees included Berkeley lecturers from the South and Southeast Asian Studies department, staff and alumni.

“I feel very honored and more inspired to advocate for Filipino language studies here on campus and beyond,” said Fritzie de Mata, alumni volunteer and advocate for Filipino Language Studies on campus, in an email. “This award acknowledges the long history of Filipino language courses here on campus, how Filipinx students have not only initiated the beginning of these courses but also have always fought for these courses to continue.”

Nominations are typically submitted by an individual or organization, according to UC Berkeley senior lecturer Joi Barrios-LeBlanc. After drafting the pool of nominees, the commission forms a panel to select the awardees.

This year, campus’s Filipino language team was nominated by the Filipino Language Center at the University of the Philippines, Barrios-LeBlanc noted. The award was accepted by campus South and Southeast Asian Studies alumni Denice Sy-Munez on behalf of the program.

“It is a testament to what we can achieve as a community of Filipinx teachers, staff and students, as well as our supporters,” Barrios-LeBlanc said in an email.

In addition to the award, the commission also recognized the campus Asian Pacific American Student Development office, UC Berkeley Language Center, League of Filipino Students, {m}aganda magazine, Pilipinx American Student Services, Pilipinx American Alliance and the Cal Philipinx American Alumni Chapter for their contributions developing and sustaining the language program.

Campus’s Filipino language program offers the highest number of Filipino courses on the U.S. mainland, Barrios-LeBlanc added, as well as a study abroad program in the Philippines to further students’ understanding of the language and culture.

“The Filipino language program at UC Berkeley provides a sense of belonging and community to Filipinx students on campus, especially since Filipinx students have been historically marginalized on campus,” de Mata said in the email. “Most importantly, because of the United States’ history of colonizing the Philippines and its institutionalization of the English language in the Philippines, teaching Filipino languages to students on campus is an act of decolonization.”

Program leaders hope to continue their mission of strengthening and advancing the Filipino language.

“With the help of our alumni and our colleagues from other UC campuses and universities with like-minded ideas, we hope we can truly build a Center for Philippine Languages,” Barrios-LeBlanc said in the email.

Corrections: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the Cal Philipinx American Alumni Chapter as the Cal Philipinx American Alumni Association. The article also incorrectly referred to Fritzie de Mata as a Filipino Language Studies alumnus. In fact, de Mata is an alumni volunteer and advocate for Filipino Language Studies on campus.

Contact Phoebe Chen at 

LAST UPDATED

SEPTEMBER 22, 2022


Related Articles

featured article
Ying Lee, Berkeley’s first Asian American city councilmember, has died, leaving behind a memory of her kind spirit and fierce activism. 
Ying Lee, Berkeley’s first Asian American city councilmember, has died, leaving behind a memory of her kind spirit and fierce activism. 
featured article
featured article
Represented by the UAW union, 48,000 academic workers across the UC campuses are negotiating with the University of California, or UC, to demand greater progress on social and economic issues. 
Represented by the UAW union, 48,000 academic workers across the UC campuses are negotiating with the University of California, or UC, to demand greater progress on social and economic issues. 
featured article
featured article
Some members of the UC Berkeley community recently took to Twitter to express their discontentment with campus’s “English Pronunciation Workshop,” offered once a semester through the International Office.
Some members of the UC Berkeley community recently took to Twitter to express their discontentment with campus’s “English Pronunciation Workshop,” offered once a semester through the International Office.
featured article