Swansea University has awarded an honorary degree to Jesuit leader and Swansea University alumnus Father Antonio F Moreno SJ.
Father Moreno was presented with the honorary award today (27 July) during the degree ceremony for the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law.
Father Moreno grew up in Cagayan de Oro City, in the southern Philippines. He received his early education at Xavier University, Ateneo de Cagayan, and completed his AB Pre-Divinity degree at the Ateneo de Manila University. He was a student leader at Xavier University in 1979, at the height of authoritarian rule in the Philippines.
In 1983, he joined the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the largest religious order in the Catholic Church. After ten years of training, he was ordained a priest.
Father Moreno ran the Institute of Social Order - one of the oldest Philippine non-governmental organisations - in 1996 while chairing its Board of Trustees. After finishing his MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Sussex in 1999, he pursued a doctorate programme in the same academic field at what was then the University of Wales Swansea.
He returned to the Philippines in 2003 and in 2005, he was appointed Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Vice President of Social Development at Xavier University.
In 2007, he was elected President of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, a Jesuit institution in southern Philippines where armed conflict, poverty and environmental degradation afflict Christians, Muslims and indigenous peoples. While serving as university president, he became the President of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi Association of Private Schools (ZAMBASULTAPS) and Vice President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, the largest association of private schools, colleges and universities in the country.
In 2013, the Superior General of the Jesuits appointed him as the head (Provincial Superior) of the Philippine Jesuits and in 2017, the Superior General appointed him as President of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP), making him the first Filipino to lead this conference.
On receiving his honorary award, Father Antonio Moreno said: "This award was least expected. I initially thought it was fake news, but decided to accept it in with humility and gratitude. It will serve as a challenge for me to be better and do more for the pressing needs of our time."