Congratulations to Laurence Anthonie Tumpag on Receiving ‘Distinguished Asian Pacific American Heritage Youth Leader’ Award

Event MC, ABC 7 Judy Hsu, Awardee Anthonie Tumpag and his mom at the James R. Thompson Center
Illinois State Comptroller Munger and FAN Nominee and Asian American Heritage Month Award Winner Laurence Anthonie Tumpag
Illinois State Comptroller Munger and Asian American Heritage Month Award Winner Laurence Anthonie Tumpag at the Thompson Center on Monday, May 11th, 2015

Congratulations on your well deserved recognition!

Laurence Anthonie Tumpag is a Masters student in Anthropology at Northern Illinois University.

Read more about the day here at NIU Today

As part of Illinois Comptroller Munger's Office Asian American Advisory Council  Our Nomination...

The Filipino American Network is proud to nominate Laurence Anthonie Tumpag as a College Graduate student community leader for the State of Illinois Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, 2015.

As an Anthropology Graduate Student at Northern Illinois University, Laurence’s articulate, passionate and break through comparative analysis of Philippines artifacts alongside those of nearby Asian countries and communities has begun to shed light on how today’s Philippines evolved.  Being only one of a handful Filipino-American’s pursuing Philippines-focused advanced anthropological degrees in the United States, Laurence brings previously unrealized discoveries to Filipino-Americans who want embrace and better understand their parent’s homeland.

In his words:

Growing up in a small town in the rural south, where race was a dichotomy of either white or black, his differences were glaring. Unfortunately, Laurence began to endure bullying, racism, and ignorance. Coupled with the domestic violence he was experiencing at home, he felt he had no future. All things changed the moment Laurence decided to take agency over his own life. Upon reaching adulthood, he set out with no resources -- living in and out of homeless shelters while struggling to work and attend community college because he put faith in the notion that education would be a means towards a better future. At the same time, Laurence was struggling -- trying to embrace who he was and find value in the differences that made him a target for ridicule and abuse. Laurence found solace in reading about the cultural diversity of his mother’s Filipino homeland, and began collecting cultural items eventually curating exhibits in his community -- promoting diversity and cultural understanding in hopes of countering the ignorance and racism he experienced as a child. Upon graduating with honors & earning scholarship to a 4 year university, Laurence was able to not only remove himself from homelessness but also pursue the study of cultures in greater depth by conducting research. Through scholarship, he was able to travel to places like India, Taiwan, Hawaii, and eventually the Philippines where he reconnected with long estranged family. After earning a Bachelor of Social work and B.S. in Sociology, Laurence entered graduate school at Northern Illinois University and his horizons broadened even further through the discipline of cultural Anthropology where he was able to study abroad in Indonesia and Madagascar as a Fulbright Fellow, Foreign Languages Area Studies Fellowship, and other accolades. Throughout all these wonderfully fulfilling opportunities, Laurence continued to collect cultural artifacts -- displaying educational exhibits about the countries he visited so that members of his new Illinois community could not only learn about the wonderful diversity our world has to offer, but to also encourage fellow students to experience them first hand. In 2013, Laurence was afforded a rare opportunity to privately tour the Chicago Field Museum’s collection of 10,000 Philippine artifacts which have been lying in storage for decades. These objects of largely pre-colonial origin are now recently being identified and understood by the Filipino-American community in a process known as co-curation. Laurence was also given the opportunity to speak at the 10,000 Kwentos co-curation opening ceremony. In his speech, he encouraged the Filipino community to explore a comparative approach in their efforts to identify these artifacts as the Philippines and other countries such as Indonesia share many commonalities with each other. Because of Laurence’s accomplishments, Northern Illinois University selected him as a Jeffrey Lunsford Underrepresented Fellowship alternate last academic year. Additionally, the Division of International Affairs awarded him the Outstanding U.S. Student Contribution to International Education Award in Fall 2014; and in 2015 he was awarded the university’s prestigious University Fellowship. With a background grounded in bridging the local and the global, Laurence hopes to one day engage in social service work and peace-building efforts on behalf of the United States government or within the museum profession. Through all of Laurence’s experiences, he offers this advice: “While it may be quite terrifying stepping out into the great unknown, I have found that with each step -- you gain strength in your momentum until eventually you find yourself running -- hopeful for what the future has to offer.”

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Laurence, congratulations on your findings and making us even more proud to be Filipino!