Princess Jacel H. Kiram

As her title implies, Princess Jacel Kiram is born to nobility as the daughter of Jamalul Kiram III and a descendant of the Sultan of Sulu, Paduka Batara. Her innate interest in her ancient roots led her to what seems to be lifelong advocacy that she now pursues not only as an individual but as a leader and representative of her people.

As young as she may be, Princess Jacel has held leadership and key positions in the various organizations she is involved with. An AB Interdisciplinary Studies graduate from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde in Manila, she has already obtained several distinctions over the years for her active engagements and participation in important missions and events, such as being a resource speaker in the United Nations-sponsored Conference on Drug Control Program held at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna, Austria; as one of the delegates to the 600th Year of Sulu-China Friendship celebration in Guangxi; and as head of the Philippine Delegation to the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Sochi, Russia in 2017, to name a few.

She has also served as President of the Philsilat Sports Association and as Deputy Chief of Mission to the 18th Asian Games for Team Philippines. Other significant involvements include her as a founding member of Kristyano’t Islam Repormang Aagapay sa Mamamayan (KIRAM), as Co-Founder and President of the International Center for Peace, Reconciliation and Development (ICPRD, formerly KIRAM); and as Chair of People’s Coalition for Peace among others.

Like much of the sultanates in Mindanao, Sulu is rich in its culture and history. In her pursuits of retracing her roots, Princess Jacel has been instrumental in bringing to the fore evidence of ancient ties between China and the people of Mindanao, particularly the Sultanate of Sulu, which goes beyond trading also alliance and cultural assimilation.

Her commitment to the furtherance of the legacy of her ancestors has not only led to an increased awareness of Philippines-China historical ties among her people, but such efforts greatly facilitated in promoting of more people to people interactions between the two countries by way of skills, knowledge, and human resource exchanges. She hopes not only for the Philippine government to find means of supporting efforts of preserving the legacy and historical alliance that many sultanates in Mindanao, like that of Sulu, have long started. For her, history is not only there to render evidence of long-standing amity with China but also to lay the basis and grounding for our own identity both as Filipinos and as Asians.

This year, the Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding (APPCU) recognizes Princess Jacel Kiram for her efforts and initiatives in facilitating the strengthening of friendship between the Philippines and China and for her vocal expression of amity and gratitude, especially concerning the preservation of the history and legacy of her ancestor, the Sultan of Sulu.