It was 1947, a mere two years after World War II, and Manila was still devastated – the second most destroyed city of the war. Its former glory was replaced by rubble, and reconstruction had barely begun.
Around the same time, a young man named Artemio L. Vergel De Dios was inspired by a feature in PIC Magazine on the US Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), which helped the government through the leadership of individuals. He took it upon himself to help rebuild the nation through the first and oldest leadership organization in Asia, the Junior Chamber International Manila. Formerly known as the Manila Jaycees, Vergel de Dios and Ramon V Del Rosario knew that was the only way to successfully restore Manila to its former glory was to get purposeful individuals focused on the same goal. Thus, on September 12, 1947, the first JCI Chapter in Asia was born.
Inauguration of the first JCI Manila Clubhouse. Distinguished JCI Manila alumni, Ambassador Ramon V. Del Rosario is seen sixth from the right.
Since then, JCI Manila has been fostering leaders who help strengthen the nation by addressing modern-day devastations like extreme poverty, natural disasters, unemployment, and malnourishment through a vision of providing development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change.
As the leading global network of young, active citizens in the country, JCI Manila has long been known as the early training grounds of notable alumni who have become movers and shakers not just in their respective fields, but within the country and around the world. Within its ranks rose such names as Mr. Washington Sycip, Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, Ambassador Ramon V. Del Rosario, and Mr. Henry Sy. JCI Manila has become an incubator of leaders in the public and private sectors, immersing themselves in civic duties that help propel the country and its citizens forward.
Its enduring success has earned JCI Manila the moniker of ‘University of Leaders.’ Its curriculum is shaped by a challenge to its members to reach out to the community, effect lasting and positive change, and cooperate and collaborate with each other toward a common goal. These are men, who in the words of Mr. Sycip, “Are not only men of integrity, but have the ability to inspire other dedicated and bright people to work with him.”
Echoing this sentiment, JCI Manila president Steve Baltao says, “Leadership through service is the most enduring lesson of being part of JCI Manila. I have learned more about myself reflected in the people whose lives we affect with positive change than I could ever imagine. It is an honor to be among such outstanding individuals, and an even greater honor to be of service to the community.”