The University of the Philippines (UP) will award on Thursday, March 2 an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws to Malaysian Prime Minister (PM) Anwar Ibrahim.

Commission of Higher Education Chairman and UP Board of Regents (BOR) Chair Prospero De Vera III and UP President Angelo Jimenenez will facilitate the conferral.

Anwar, who is on a two-day official visit in the Philippines from Wednesday, March 1, will also deliver a public lecture titled “30 Years after Asian Renaissance: Strategic Takeaways for ASEAN” during his conferment ceremony at UP Diliman’s University Theater.

“PM Anwar is being cited for being a scholar on Jose Rizal and for being an internationally-acclaimed expert on economics, democracy, freedom, governance, Islam and democracy, and the need for accountability,” UP Vice President for Public Affairs Wendell Capili said.

The UP Diliman Asian Center initiated the conferment, according to Capili.

From initial readings in high school, the Malaysian PM learned more about Rizal during frequent visits to the late UP Professor Emeritus and former UP Diliman College of Arts and Sciences Dean Cesar Adib Majul.

Anwar held many government positions, serving as Deputy PM (1993-1998) and Minister of Finance (1991-1998), Education (1986-1991), Agriculture (1984), and Culture, Youth, and Sports (1983), before being jailed for corruption in 1999.

Eventually, his conviction was overturned by the Malaysian Supreme Court and was released from solitary confinement in 2004. He was again arrested in 2015 and walked free from prison in 2018 after receiving a royal pardon.

He subsequently held lecturing positions at the University of Oxford, Johns Hopkins University, and Georgetown University.

Anwar and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. are meeting on Wednesday at the Malacañan Palace to talk about issues of mutual concern including political, security, and economic cooperation.

“The visit reflects the importance of good ties between Malaysia and the Philippines as close neighbors and partners in ASEAN,” the Malaysian foreign ministry said.

“It will provide an excellent opportunity for both sides to advance the partnership for progress, guided by shared interest, increased political and economic cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges,” it added.

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