STACY Danika Alcantara-Garcia arrived in London last month with three suitcases and more than a decades’ worth of experience in media and public affairs.
The new Third Secretary and Vice Consul of the Embassy of the Philippines in London are fresh from a three-year stint in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Public Diplomacy where she actively took the reins in unleashing the power of social media in advancing the goals of Philippine diplomacy.
Apart from that, she has always been a staunch advocate of creating a positive but realistic image of the Philippines and Philippine foreign policy. “Gone are the days when people would say that social media is only for children,” said the 29-year-old diplomat. “Thanks to the twin forces of globalization and the digital revolution, social media is an indispensable tool in diplomacy.
It helps us reach out directly to a very outspoken public, it amplifies our traditional diplomatic efforts, and more importantly, it enables us to start meaningful conversations about why foreign policy matters to people’s daily lives.” Stacy’s passion for public diplomacy is palpable.
This little lady has big plans for the portfolio that she is currently managing. Exciting times are indeed ahead for Philippine public and cultural diplomacy in the United Kingdom. “The United Kingdom is brimming with opportunities for all of us to share the story of the Philippines. The beauty about UK’s vibrant and cosmopolitan culture and art scene is that we can share our stories and we can forge connections in a negligible number of ways.
The sky is the limit to what we can achieve here regarding public and cultural diplomacy,” she gushed. “It’s challenging. It’s a tall order. But I’m up for it.” Stacy hails from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental but has lived in various cities across the Philippines and around the world. She finished her degree in Mass Communication summa cum laude, at Silliman University, one of the Philippines’ most prestigious universities, while at the same time actively serving the student body as the Student Government President. Last year, she finished graduate-level courses on International Relations and Diplomacy from the Geneva School of Diplomacy in Switzerland where she completed with perfect grades.
“That’s the beauty when you do something that is close to your heart,” she said as she reminisced about her days in Silliman’s tree-lined paths and historic buildings. “It never feels like work. Yes, you get exhausted, you get tired, but at the end of the day, you are filled with a sense of purpose.” Stacy was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines in 2009 and one of the Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines in 2008 for her work in upholding her advocacies in the arts and women empowerment.
“Excellence is something that I value deeply,” said the top-notcher of the 2013-2014 Foreign Service Officers Exam. “I consider it a form of service, especially now that I am working for the country. In every task we are given, no matter how small and inconsequential that may be, we need to give it our best because the people we deserve no less than the best.”
Before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs, she worked with two of the world’s most influential multinational companies while at the same time actively writing for various national and international publications as a travel and lifestyle correspondent. She also dabbled on a teaching stint at the University of San Carlos’ political science department.
Her work as a travel journalist and photographer has taken her to some of the farthest reaches of the Philippines. According to her, these are experiences that continue to enrich her work in public and cultural diplomacy, especially in her six-year stint in London.
“You know, before I arrived here, I’ve been told by so many people that London will be filled to the rafters with challenges,” she said. “Well, I love challenges, and all I can say is that the six years that lie ahead of me will feel very swift indeed.”