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Climate scientist Glenn Banaguas becomes first Filipino science diplomat to join UK’s Royal Society Of Arts

By Rainier Allan Ronda, Published Feb 01, 2023 9:09 pm Updated Feb 02, 2023 8:51 am

A multi-awarded Filipino environment and climate change scientist has been inducted to the London-based Royal Society of Arts, also known as the Royal Society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce.

Glenn Suerte Banaguas is the first science diplomat from the Philippines to become a fellow of the RSA.

Banaguas is the founder and president of the Philippine-based Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute (ECCRI), which brings science and technology to the poorest communities and marginalized sectors in the country.

His induction to the RSA brings him alongside historical luminaries such as Nobel Prize laureates Nelson Mandela and Marie Curie, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Benjamin Franklin, one of the United States’ founding fathers and signatory to the US Declaration of Independence.

“Our vision is a world that is resilient, rebalanced, and regenerative. It is people like you who make our work possible. We believe that by bringing you and your expertise, we can transform the world’s economic, social, and environmental systems,” the RSA said in its official communication to Banaguas.

“My heart is filled with gratefulness for this gift. I am deeply humbled to walk in the shadow of such great minds. I hope to be able to contribute even just a fraction of what they have given to the world,” Banaguas said upon learning about his induction to the RSA.

“I pray that this service will amplify the spirit of peace and reconciliation. And I also hope that the atmosphere of positivity will create the power of compassion among nations,” he added.

Founded in 1754 by English social reformist and inventor William Shipley, the RSA was granted a Royal Charter in 1847 and the right to use the term “royal” in its name by King Edward VII in 1908. Members of the RSA became known as “fellows” from 1914 onwards.

Aside from founding and heading the ECCRI, Banaguas founded the Climate Smart and Disaster Resilient Philippines: A Track-Risk-Impact-Policy (T-R-I-P) to Resiliency and Sustainability, formerly known as Climate Smart Philippines, which is the flagship program of ECCRI.

Banaguas is among Asia’s leading experts in environment, climate change, and disaster risk. He is chairman of the ASEAN Science Diplomats and the US-ASEAN Fellows for Science and Technology as well as climate diplomat of the EU-Asia Expert Panel for Climate Diplomacy and Environmental Security.

He is also a senior fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew Public Service in Singapore and executive fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland.

Banaguas is the first Filipino recipient of the United Nations’ Sasakawa Laureate for Disaster Risk Reduction and The Outstanding Filipino laureate for environmental conservation and science diplomacy as well sustainability leadership honoree of the Asia Leaders Award.

Editor's note: This story originally appeared on One News.