Robin Michael Garcia selected as 2023 Eisenhower Global Fellow
Robin Michael Garcia, founder of WR Numero Research and WR Advisory Group Inc. President and CEO, is among the 25 fellows selected for the prestigious Eisenhower Global 2023 program.
The Eisenhower Fellowship annually hosts the Global Program of Fellows for 20-25 mid-career leaders from across the globe between the ages of 32 and 45. The program is tailor-fitted to the professional interest of its fellows and in his case, Garcia will zero in on innovating polling, data analytics, and political risk analysis.
Becoming a fellow for the program was no mean feat, at least as Garcia had experienced. Garcia went through intensive screening, conducted by former Eisenhower fellows from the Philippines before undergoing the official application to the Fellowship.
The Eisenhower Fellowship only handpicks individuals who have made an impact in their specific fields, be it in government, private sector, or non-profit foundation work among others.
Garcia was shortlisted from about a dozen Filipinos tapped by the Philippine committee to apply for the Fellowship. He later learned he was chosen by the committee in a phone call with former Sarangani governor Miguel Dominguez.
He was vetted by former Iloilo town mayor and incumbent Iloilo Board Member Jason Gonzales in an interview, and then by a panel of former Eisenhower fellows.
After his application was sent to Philadelphia, Garcia went through another interview, this time with an official of the Eisenhower Fellowship.
After a month and a half of application, and about 5,000 words worth of information, Garcia learned in December that he was successful in becoming this year’s Filipino representative to the fellowship.
“I plan to create a research lab that will bring together the academe, the private sector and the government to study and propose innovations in polling, data analytics, and political risk analysis,” Garcia said.
The lab will be a collaboration of WR Advisory Group, an integrated public affairs firm that specializes in data, strategy, and communications, and its subsidiary, WR Numero Research, both of which he founded.
The project seeks to address the lack of new frameworks and innovate public opinion research in the Philippines, which by and large, remains stuck in the old methods of data gathering.
“As such, there is room for more rigorous and systematic research into attitudes towards foreign policy, political legitimacy, democracy and illiberalism which are useful for policymakers, diplomats, corporations, and international organizations,” Garcia said.
“Moreover, there is also a need to measure political risks for companies and international organizations to help them make better and more nuanced executive decisions.”
Through the project, Garcia seeks to solve socio-political puzzles, such as the popularity of former president Rodrigo Duterte that remained high throughout his term, despite his controversial policies towards China, and his drug war.
“This project will enable a local ecosystem of analysts, scholars, and professionals to revisit important puzzles about socio-political realities in the country. More specifically it will be a place to ask and answer important questions using advanced methodologies,” he said.
The last Filipino fellow of the program was former senator and deputy minority leader Bam Aquino, who participated in 2020. Aquino used the fellowship to organize StartUp Sandbox, a showcase of emerging technological solutions in aid of the marginalized sectors in the Philippines.
Aside from Aquino, other notable Eisenhower Fellows from the Philippines are Senator Risa Hontiveros, Rep. Mujiv Hataman, former IATF Chief Implementer and newly appointed Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez, former Gov. Migs Dominguez, and late SGV & Co founder Washington Sycip.
This year, Garcia will be joining 25 other Eisenhower Fellows, including the Yeh Chao-Fu, Director-General, Transportation Bureau, Chinese Taipei; Lucrezia Busa, Member of Cabinet of European Union Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection; and Zakhona Mvelase, Founder and Director, African Women Against Corruption Network, South Africa to name a few.
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