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By Arturo Belano

A FORMER teacher of the Cavite State University made history when she became the first Filipino language course instructor in Harvard University.

The Harvard University Asia Center and the Department of South Asian Studies recently welcomed Lady Aileen Orsal as their newest hire, following their earlier announcement of offering Filipino language classes this year.

This will be the first time in Harvard’s 400-year history that it will offer a Tagalog course. Thai and Bahasa Indonesian are already being taught at the university.

Orsal will teach introductory and intermediate Filipino classes.

She started teaching the Filipino language as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Northern Illinois University in 2018.

“Naniniwala akong maliit na bahagi lamang ako ng istorya at ang pagkakataong maituro ito ay bunga ng pagsisikap ng mga taong patuloy na inadhika na magkaroon ng mayaman at makabuluhang programa ng Filipino sa pamantasan,” Orsal wrote on Facebook.

Harvard University said that Filipino is the fourth most spoken language in the United States next to English, Spanish and Chinese.

“We are extremely happy to welcome Lady Aileen Orsal to the Harvard community,” said James Robson, Victor and William Fung Director at Harvard University Asia Center in the Harvard Gazette report.

“We look forward to working with her to develop, highlight, and showcase the richness and variety of the history and cultures of the Philippines through events on the Harvard campus,” he added.