Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education
Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan is a social psychologist, educator and women’s rights and empowerment activist. Her teaching, research and practice in social psychology has focused on human factors in the national development process, education and educational reform, social issues, human resource development and gender issues. She is currently the chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
She holds an M.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. She has been professor and chair of the Department of Psychology and academic vice-president of the Ateneo de Manila University. She was the immediate past president of Miriam College, an educational institution committed to social justice, a culture of peace, environmental sustainability, gender equality and the empowerment of girls and young women.
As a psychologist and educator, Dr. Licuanan has played important leadership roles in a wide range of organizations. She has been president of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) and chair of the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC), the Technical Panel on Humanities, Social Sciences and Communication of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) and the executive council of the Consortium of Women’s Colleges (CWC). She served as vice-president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and board member of the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). She has been member of the board of directors of several educational institutions and editor-in-chief of the Philippine Journal of Education, a magazine for teachers. She has served as president of the Association of Women Presidents and Chancellors of Private Colleges and Universities (SOPHIA) and on the board of advisers of Philippine Business for Education (PBEd). Recently, she was appointed commissioner and chairperson of the Education Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines.
Her work on women’s issues includes serving as chairperson of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), now the Philippine Commission on Women. It was during her term that the groundbreaking Philippine Development Plan for Women (PDPW) was launched. She was chair of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) as the preparatory commission for the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. At the Conference she chaired the Main Committee which negotiated the Beijing Platform for Action. She has served as chairperson of the ASEAN Women’s Programme, UNESCO Philippine Focal Point for Women, member and chair of the External Forum on Gender and Development of the Asian Development Bank, board member of the Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics (CAPWIP).
She has headed regional women’s NGO networks such as the Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW) and South East Asia Women’s Watch (SEAWWatch). She chaired the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing + 10 and was convenor of the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing + 15. Her vast experience and involvement in women’s issues also includes serving as UNIFEM adviser to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan helping this new ministry get organized and define its role in post-Taliban Afghanistan. She is a member of the Global Council of the International Museum of Women (IMOW) in San Francisco.
As an educator, her day to day work has involved increasing awareness among education practitioners as well as students, parents and the community of the issues around education and education reform, developing policies and programs at all levels from early childhood to higher education to lifelong-education in both formal and non-formal settings. As CHEd Chairperson, she leads the agency in its efforts to rationalize Philippine higher education, improve quality and standards and broaden access to quality higher education.
Dr. Licuanan has been a passionate voice and active player in the assessment and review of national development policies. As a young social scientist, she was an early voice expressing concern about the human costs of overseas employment of Filipino workers and continued as a tireless advocate for the rights of women migrant workers and their families at national and international fora.
Having been involved with the United Nations in various capacities, she is deeply committed to the current U.N. reform process and was Asia Pacific focal point of the NGO-led Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign which led to the establishment of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).
Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Patricia Licuanan has seamlessly combined vision, commitment and passion with hard work, people skills, management ability and common sense.