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Lotte van Oers

Lotte van Oers

DIVA van de maand

July 2020

Interview with Carolina Hernandez

Carolina Hernandez is currently Professor of Political Science at the University of the Philippines and the holder of its Carlos P. Romulo Professorial Chair in International Relations. She is founder and President of the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, an independent, non-profit think tank on foreign policy, domestic politics, and security concerns and development issues. In 1989-1990, she served as a member of the Commission that investigated the failed coup of 1989, a body appointed by the former President Corazon C. Aquino and produced the Final Report that is seen as a critically important document in the country’s march to redemocratization. Carolina is widely published in international, regional and Philippine academic journals such as the Asian Survey, Pacific Review, Third World Quarterly, and Public Policy, in the fields of regional security and foreign relations. She is the mother of 5 children and the grandmother of 5 grandchildren.

DIVAZ Questions:

1. What is your biggest passion?
To improve the world, it is what I have been working on all my life. To have a better place for the future generation, empower individuals and everyone that needs to be helped. For example, women in many parts of the world are marginalised and have to be empowered. I want to see our world as a place that is beautiful and respectful of the environment and celebrates differences. Education is important and a way of reaching out to those who are different. My passion of having an improved world sees inclusion as a critical principle.

2. If you had a magic wand what would you change immediately?
The mindsets of people – because there is where change begins but is the most difficult. I would want people to be more open to change and be respectful of differences and human dignity.

3. What is your most valuable advice for women?
To learn how to get what they want. This is often shaped by culture, a mix of old and new ideas and ways of doing things. Women must go beyond the usual expectations even as they try not to make enemies of men but try and understand them. It helps when men are not threatened especially by women. And last but no least: compete against yourself and not against others.

4. Do you have a rolemodel and who is it?
As a young girl scout we once had a keynote speaker, a beautiful educator named Estefania Aldaba Lim. She was very inspiring and she made me see that you can be married with children and be a highly accomplished professional at the same time. It is possible. Later in college some of my professors who were very able and with integrity were my role models.

5. What should women do to get what they want?
They must first of all be competent in their field of work, work well with others regardless of gender, race, or other attributes, maintain their credibility and integrity. They must understand the prevailing norms and try to find spaces within these norms for change that enables women to excel and compete. They must also be clear-headed about what they want. The thing they should avoid is to use their gender and sexuality to get what they want!