In a historical stride that has captured the attention of linguistic and educational communities worldwide, Lady Aileen Orsal of Cavite State University (CvSU) steps into a pivotal role as the pioneer instructor of Harvard University’s newly minted Filipino language course.
This landmark undertaking not only marks a golden milestone in her already radiant academic trajectory but also underscores the enriching and vibrant heritage of the Filipino community on an unparalleled international dais.
From September 5, 2023, Orsal will undertake the noble task of unraveling the intricacies of the Filipino (Tagalog) language to eager learners, encompassing both rudimentary and advanced tiers of the dialect. This monumental role not only signifies a summit in her luminous career but it is also a beacon lifting the Filipino linguistic legacy to the pedestals of global scholarly recognition.
Embarking on Uncharted Terrains at Harvard
In an official communiqué released on August 25, the stalwarts at the Harvard University Asia Center and the Department of South Asian Studies welcomed Orsal into the fold as the Preceptor in Filipino Languages (Tagalog). This monumental appointment stems from a prior announcement heralding the dawn of this path-breaking language program, a first in the revered halls of Harvard’s history stretching nearly four centuries.
Reiterating the substantial presence of Filipino (Tagalog) as the fourth predominant language in the U.S., superseded only by English, Spanish, and Chinese, Harvard professed its unwavering resolve to foster this linguistic course perpetually, fortified by a generous bequest to nurture its growth.
The Custodian of Filipino Heritage and Scholarship
Enriched with a kaleidoscope of academic accolades, Lady Aileen Orsal gears up to embark on this remarkable endeavor backed by a solid educational foundation, heralding from her early days at Cavite State University where she graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communication in 2012, further nourishing her expertise with a master’s degree in Philippine Studies.
Orsal, no stranger to international platforms, previously graced the Northern Illinois University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant, embodying a rich tradition of Filipino linguistic excellence both abroad and at CvSU.
Presently striding the venerable corridors of Harvard, Orsal juggles her instructive responsibilities while eyeing ambitious academic pursuits – an MA in Communication and a Ph.D. in Philippine Studies slated for completion in 2024.
Orsal: The Academic Maverick with a Rich Reservoir of Research
Lady Aileen Orsal brings to the table not just teaching proficiency but a rich tapestry of research delving into fascinating realms of Filipino coffee culture, political musical narratives, and the ancestral art of Filipino tattooing.
A warm welcome awaited her from James Robson, the Victor and William Fung Director at the Harvard University Asia Center, envisioning a harmonious collaboration aimed at unveiling the rich tapestries of Filipino history and culture through dynamic initiatives under Orsal’s stewardship.