Hon. Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat is a career diplomat, with the rank of Chief of Mission II, at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila, Philippines.
As Officer-in-Charge of the Foreign Service Institute, she discharges the duties of the Director-General.
Foreign Posts. Prior to her assignment to FSI, she served in various capacities, including Minister and Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i., at the Philippine Embassies in Riyadh, Jakarta, and Bandar Seri Begawan. She handled political, economic, consular, cultural, and ASEAN work at these posts.
Home Office. As a member of the team of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, she provided substantive support for the Philippines’s APEC chairmanship, first in 1996 and again in 2015.
In addition, she was Assistant Director at the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination in 1997-1998 and worked closely with the private sector in promoting services trade in 2006-2008.
In 2016-2018, she served as Executive Director and, for six months, concurrently as Acting Assistant Secretary at the Office of Financial Management Services, where her work entailed public finance: i.e., allocating scarce financial resources among competing needs.
Academe and Private Sector. Prior to joining the foreign service, she earned her undergraduate degree in BA Economics, magna cum laude, at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, and her MA in International and Development Economics at Yale University in Connecticut, USA as a Fulbright-Hays scholar.
In the private sector, she did risk management work: first, at the now defunct Far East Bank and Trust Co. and subsequently at Citibank, N.A. in Manila. She also held jobs in publications, economic policy research, and teaching at the Center for Research and Communication (CRC), a private think tank, and the former CRC-College of Arts and Sciences, now known as University of Asia and the Pacific.
As a junior diplomat, she attended Escuela Diplomática in Madrid, Spain, through a scholarship grant from the Agencia Española Cooperación Internacional, earning a Master’s degree in International Studies and an award for best thesis.
With her assignment to the FSI in August 2018, she goes back to her academic roots.
Personal Life. She is married to a fellow Filipino diplomat. They have one daughter.