Illac Diaz: Vision, Compassion, and Creativity

illac diaz, philippines
He is more than just a pretty face. Illac (pronounced ee-lak) Diaz is his name and he is a proud Filipino. He has just been named "Young Global Leader of 2008" by the World Economic Forum in Geneva.

I first read of his benevolence through Reader's Digest September 2004 issue when he was featured on the Everyday Hero column. RD acknowledged his altruistic project for providing a place for Filipino seafarers in Manila while waiting for assignments.

But who was he years ago? He was a model, part-time actor (?), a party figure, and an advertising executive for Smart Communication. His gorgeousness would make every girl go gaga over him.

Fortunately, Illac Diaz was nurtured by his parents to see the world differently. Instead of just partying around and making thousands or even millions of money by modeling, he studied and earned a bachelor's degree in Management Economics at Ateneo. He furthered his studies at Asian Institute of Management (AIM) with

"Shanties to Jobs: Creating a Migrant Center in Manila" as his graduate thesis.

He later left for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston as a Fullbright-Humphrey Scholar and Research Fellow in a Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS). (I think he was one of the student volunteers who campaigned for President Obama.)

Pier One (providing affordable, clean and safe house for seamen), MyShelter Foundation(constructing affordable houses, clinics and schools) and Peanut Revolution (helping women in shelling of peanuts with the use of simple pedal-powered machines) are just few of his achievements in helping the Filipino people live a better life in spite of the disheartening economic situation.

I wonder when will Borgy Manotoc's going to be featured in one of the respected publications for making a difference, not just in modeling.