IREX Remembers Medarka Muarip of the Philippines


IREX Remembers Medarka Muarip of the Philippines

A dear friend of IREX and distinguished alumna of the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP), Ms. Medarka “Med” Muarip passed away on August 2, 2011. One of the many outstanding Filipino teachers to participate in the ILEP program, Medarka traveled to the United States in January 2010 for a five-month professional development program for international teachers. She studied at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and worked with U.S. students and teachers at Buckhorn High School in New Market, Alabama.

A teacher of English as a Foreign Language since 2000, Medarka lived and taught in the island province of Tawi-Tawi, a religiously and ethnically diverse region of the Philippines near the border of eastern Malaysia and the Kalimantan province of Indonesia. Although only 30 years old, Medarka was recognized as a leader among her colleagues who constantly strove to bring international perspectives to her students at the Science High School of Mindanao State University. While working full time as an English teacher, she also served as a member of the Parent-Teachers Action Guild and a coordinator of a reproductive health initiative in Tawi-Tawi. In her application to the ILEP program, she wrote of her desire to be “a teacher mentor who can make a difference and who can ensure a catalytic role for my home institution and my country as a whole.”

Upon completing the ILEP program, Medarka was particularly interested in addressing the lack of professional development opportunities for teachers in rural island municipalities in the Philippines. She reported, “Because of the distance of the different islands and also the lack of opportunities for available trainings, some teachers remain traditional and close-minded on the innovative strategies of teaching. My participation in ILEP is a greater opportunity for me to be able to share what I learned… This is an avenue to promote peace and unity among us who are separated by seas and live in different ethnicities.”

IREX staff, ILEP alumni, and her many friends and colleagues at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Buckhorn High School mourn the fact that Medarka’s ability to carry out these visionary projects was cut short. Her professional dedication and warm personality will continue to be an inspiration to the entire ILEP community.

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