It is with a particular sense of appreciation and
encouragement that the SUMMER INSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICS accepts the 1973 Ramon Magsaysay
Award for International Understanding.
My first contact with the late President Magsaysay was in March 1952 when he phoned from
Manila to thank me for a copy of Cameron Townsend's biography of the Mexican leader,
Lazaro Cardenas, which I had mailed to him.
When my wife and I reached Manila in October of that year, I had the privilege of meeting
Magsaysay personally, thus beginning a friendship which continued without interruption
until his untimely death in March 1957.
President Ferdinand Marcos, from the very start of his administration, has continued the
tradition of attention to needs of the cultural minorities and of unstinting help to the
SUMMER INSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICS. Earlier this year, on the twentieth anniversary of the
INSTITUTE's work in the Philippines, President Marcos graciously gave renewed expression
of his interest at a special function at Malacaņang.
My colleagues and I in the SUMMER INSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICS begin to see the heartening
results of the work we have happily volunteered to do in the hinterlands of this Republic.
Provision of literacy materials in the Botolan Sambal language of Zambales is now well
along. Speakers of that language should experience little difficulty in sustaining,
through their own human resources, the momentum toward universal literacy and learning of
the national language.
Cultural minorities in all parts of the Philippines are achieving dignity as literate,
articulate citizens. A T'boli, for example, is supervising 22 other T'bolis in a highly
successful program of teaching members of their group to read. One of the Tausug
supervises an important dictionary project with only occasional help from an outside
linguist. An Isneg is training to be an airplane pilot.
A Subanun, with only two years of schooling, has learned touch typing and been made barrio
secretary in spite of having lost a finger on his right hand. One of the western Bukidnon
Manobo, though he has had only three years of schooling, is a voluminous writer of
original compositions designed to promote literacy among his own language group. Similar
gratifying developments are transpiring among the Sarangani Manobo, Ilianen Manobo,
Balangao, Kasiguran, Dumagan, Samal, Kalinga, Gadang and Bilaan.
Since this is an Award for work in Asia, I will only add that our efforts in four other
Asian countriesPapua New Guinea, South Vietnam, Cambodia and Nepalare
proceeding in a like pattern to that of the Philippines, with the preparation of alphabets
and literacy materials for a large number of linguistics minorities.
In closing I would like to share with you three verses of Matthew 20:25 to 28 that I took
the liberty of having printed on one occasion for President Magsaysay. He read them aloud
to his aides: "You know the rulers of the people have power over them, and their
leaders rule over them. This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you
wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be
chief, he must be your slavelike the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but
to serve, and to give his life to redeem many people." As he finished reading, the
President said: "That shows me the kind of man I ought to be."
It also is a reminder which the SUMMER INSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICS takes to heart again in
accepting with deep gratitude this recognition.