Anton has recently passed the Foreign Service Officer Examination administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs. He shares his milestone in this virtual space and hopes to pass on the torch of inspiration to the next generation of DIR students. Read Anton Miranda: Diplomacy as a Personal Vocation
Upon entering the Ateneo as Diplomacy and International Relations (Dip IR) students, my batchmates and I were frequently oriented towards the program’s objective to prepare students for the Foreign Service Officer Exams (FSOE) of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The idea of a diplomatic career was initially intimidating when I heard numerous anecdotes on the extensive coverage and rigorous nature of the five-stage exam. After going through that process in 2020, the skills and insights endowed by the Dip IR program have become the cornerstone of my motivations in pursuing the profession.
The multidisciplinary Dip IR curriculum has empowered me to engage in value-adding conversations on various issues affecting the global community. As the scope of the field continues to expand, the program also encouraged me to take initiative in developing my expertise through my coursework and extracurricular activities.
With major developments in international relations indubitably shifting towards the regional significance of Asia, the program’s built-in Specialization in East and Southeast Asian Studies has deepened my appreciation of the region’s cultures and emerging trends. During my Junior Term Abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan in 2016, I was fortunate to hone my Japanese language skills, build friendships with people of various cultural backgrounds, and engage with diverse worldviews with mutual respect.
More importantly, the program was a meaningful exposure to the complex realities of the Filipino diaspora. My personal encounters with Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) through discipline-based immersions and research fieldwork demonstrated the importance of complimenting theory with praxis, in which Dip IR students are invited to empathize with migrant workers and advocate their welfare.
In retrospect, my entire Ateneo journey has guided me in discerning diplomacy as a personal vocation, in which I am called to commit my talents and desires in the service of the country. Prior to taking the FSOE, my undergraduate degree has also prepared me in pursuing further studies at the University of the Philippines–Diliman and joining the government as a researcher at the Foreign Service Institute of the DFA. Throughout these endeavors, the Dip IR program imparted the necessary competencies in handling foreign policy work and the sensitivity in learning from others.
I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to everyone involved in creating and strengthening the Dip IR program for directing me to this lifelong commitment. The nurturing guidance of the Department of Political Science has reassured me that Dip IR students can build the capacity to contribute to larger discourses shaping foreign policy and regional affairs.