Dr. Mervyn Misajon First Filipino professor in Ajman University; On a journey to serve God, fellowmen

ILONGGO Dr. Mervyn Misajon is the first Filipino professor accepted into Ajman University, the oldest university in the United Arab Emirates. 

To his credit are 43 years of experience in teaching both in business and public management. He has extensive academic management experience both in home country and international offices. He held various positions as an administrator, a professor, researcher and trainer. He was consultant and resource person for non-government and government organizations. 

His other significant achievements include the following: First Dean of Students of UP Los Banos; first Dean of the College of Management UP Visayas; the 10th and the youngest president, so far, of Silliman University

Cultures and traditions

He took his Bachelor of Arts, major in Political Science (1974), at the University of the Philippines-Visayas and his MA in Public Administration (1978), at UP Manila. He was with the University of the Philippines – Los Baños as Program leader (1986-1987) and Dean of Students (987-1989). He transferred to UP in the Visayas as Dean of School of Development Management (1989-1991) and Dean of College of Management (1991-1994). 

He was named President of Silliman University from 1994 to 1996 during which time he managed 13 academic colleges, schools and institutes offering professional and undergraduate students with 9,000 students and oversaw the 100-bed University hospital, Hospital Board, medical staff of doctors and nurses. He successfully negotiated a $10-million USAID fund for the Marine Laboratory of the university and $40-million Belgian fund for a livelihood and Reforestation project. He represented the University as its 10th President in international and national conferences locally and abroad. Established links with local and overseas Alumni.

He earned his Ph.D. Resource Development from Michigan State University from 1980 to 1983 and his Diploma in Development Management in Kansas State University in 1982. 

“I lived for three years in the USA getting my Ph.D. and two years in Papua New Guinea as a consultant and I’ve travelled through most of Asia, so I have been exposed to various cultures and traditions,” Dr. Misajon said.

 He moved to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, as Project Manager/Assistant Secretary of Education from 1996 to 1998. While there, he drafted the Higher Education Act of Papua New Guinea and managed the $29-million Asian Development Bank Higher Education Project. 

Cradle of civilization

He is currently on his seventh year in Ajman. Since 2011, he functions as Professor of Management of Ajman University of Science and Technology.

“I wanted to experience teaching in the Middle East while earning good money as well so I can travel to other places of the world,” he said.

To those abroad, this he says: “Always keep an open mind and learn the culture of the people you are with and interact with them, knowing their strength and weaknesses.”

“In the Middle East, the cradle of civilization, I came in contact with people and nations from whom three of the world’s religion come from; Islam, Judaism, Christianity. To see the world as an Arab does makes me understand a number of world issues that involve them. Significantly, I realized we are all Abraham’s children and saw where we are significantly united and what divides us. For me, being here has made me understand the people of the Gospel — something that wasn’t taught us back home because religiosity put blinders on our capacity to investigate, analyze, and reflect on our faiths that should make it more robust.”

He has received honors and awards including the following:

• World Research Advocacy Award presented by the International Association of Scholars, Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers. International Conference on Business, Education, Engineering and Sciences (ICBEES 2016)

  Centennial Model Scholar of the University of the Philippines, 25th July 2008 University of the Philippines in the Visayas

    Outstanding Ilonggo Award for Excellence in Education [“Dungog sang Iloilo” (The Pride of Iloilo)] February 7, 2003 awarded by Quota International Club and the City of Iloilo

•   Oblation Award for Education (1995) awarded by the University of the Philippines Vanguards, Inc., University of the Philippines ROTC Advanced graduates.

Much better place

His two children are Marie Christine, 39; and, Joshua, 29. 

I am no different from others. Each person travels his own predestined path. There are crossroads however where one must make a choice. Prayer for discernment helps but in the end, personal values and goals in life determine the choice,” the 64-year-old son of Iloilo City said.

“Life is a series of tests. Enjoy the journey but one will be tested in everything anywhere, anytime.  The key for me is to realize at that moment of great suffering and difficulty that you are being tested. Learn the lesson as fast as you can so that you can get out of it quickly and not repeat the same mistakes,” he said.

“I don’t feel I have arrived. I’m still journeying and I pray and hope that before my time is up, I am able to be of service to God and my fellowmen — to leave the earth a much better place than when I was born in it,” he added.

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