Just recently, Professor Oscar Franklin Barcelona Tan (XS 1997) brought honor to his nation, the Philippines, and his Alma Mater, Xavier School San Juan, by being awarded by Junior Chamber International as one of the “2017 Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World” for the category of political, legal, and governmental affairs. Professor Tan garnered such distinguished recognition for his substantial efforts in the fields of law and journalism.
Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a worldwide membership-based nonprofit organization of young active citizens ages 18 to 40 who are dedicated to creating positive change in their communities. Through projects in more than 5000 communities across 120 countries, members of JCI seek targeted solutions to local problems, creating a global impact. Junior Chamber International annually awards recognition to ten young persons who have a managed to spark positive change in society due to their extraordinary endeavors in varying areas of the community.
As a lawyer, Professor Tan efficiently turned his legal skills to both his benefit and the benefit of the community. He did this by using his constitutional expertise to fuel his flourishing career in journalism, simultaneously becoming one of the youngest leading scholars of the nation as he introduced insightful and innovative perspectives on current topics to the population.
In over 200 published columns and articles, Professor Tan has addressed numerous disputable matters, ranging from the effects of martial law, to same sex marriage, and to the growing corruption present in government. Be it being cited in Supreme Court decisions, testifying before Congress or actively advocating for women’s rights, he has displayed the true power of words as he serves as the guiding voice that educates others on the happenings in the community. Despite the many challenges he faces daily, such as cultural barriers and a lack of mentorship, he still continues to persevere and introduce more readers towards relevant issues.
Due to his great feats in the areas of law and journalism, Professor Tan has granted the people the opportunity to see the clarity of truth amongst the pollution of dishonesty, immorality, and bigotry that is commonplace in Philippine society today. He renders a perspective that enables one to fully experience and easily understand the proceedings present in numerous issues, thus enlightening the population on the countless controversial occurrences in the nation.
Professor Tan credits these achievements to his foundational years, being privileged to have received a Xavier education. During his time as a Xavier School student, Professor Tan already showed great passion for the art of writing. He was the editor-in-chief of the Grade School Stallion and Hoofprint publications. Furthermore, having graduated from Xavier School Grade School in the year 1993, he advanced to the High School, in which he became the batch representative of the Metamorphosis yearbook, S-4 or Logistics Officer of the cadet corps, and member of the Drum and Bugle Corps. He would go on to graduate from Xavier School High School as part of the Class of 1997.
As he progressed to the collegiate level, Professor Tan persistently exhibited his enthusiasm for writing and journalism while continuing his studies at the Ateneo de Manila University. He was quickly elevated to the position of Vice-President for the Comm and Pub of the Ateneo Celadon and founded the Celadon’s Elements, formerly known as Chinoy magazine. Among his many roles, Professor Tan was also the Graphic Design Editor and Operations Editor of The GUIDON, Ateneo de Manila’s official student publication. Moreover, he was also editor-in-chief of the Management Engineering Association magazine then called the MEAn. Professor Tan would later graduate cum laude from such educational institute in 2001, having completed the courses in Management Engineering and Economics Honors, two of the most prestigious and difficult degree programs offered by the Ateneo de Manila University.
Thereafter, Professor Tan would pursue his studies in law at the University of the Philippines College of Law, procuring his Bachelor of Laws and graduating Top Ten of Class 2005. Immediately after his term at University of the Philippines College of Law, he would be accepted by the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts for studies in Constitutional and Securities Law. Professor Tan would also take up International Finance Concentration at the Harvard Law School and acquire his Master of Laws in 2007.
Through his words and deeds, Professor Tan truly exemplifies the qualities and values of a Xaverian. He has worked towards a better society through his efforts in law and journalism, serving justice to contentious issues by shedding light upon their true nature. He shows the power of words and exhibits how narratives can change one’s perspective. In reality, he brings not merely words or accounts, but comprehensible experiences that allow the people to grow more knowledgeable on the current state of their mother country. His story serves as an inspiration for Xaverians to hone their talents to the best of their ability and use such talents selflessly for the benefit of the community. Through his work, he also teaches us that we must always be mindful of our own words and actions in order to properly and truthfully communicate the intended message. As he receives his well-deserved recognition in the Junior Chamber International World Congress in Amsterdam, Netherlands on November 8, Professor Tan surely possesses the gratitude and commendation of the entire Xavier School. Luceat Lux!