Mary Racelis

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Mary Racelis
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Born1932 (age 91–92)
EducationBachelor of Arts
Alma materCornell University, Ithaca
  • Sociologist
  • Anthropologist
  • Development worker
AwardsPhilippine National Book Award

Mary Racelis is a Filipino sociologist, anthropologist, and development worker. She is a faculty member at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

She is currently a Research Scientist at the Institute of Philippine Culture of the Ateneo de Manila University. Her research interests include poverty, urbanization, civil society, and community development.

Early life and education

Mary Racelis was born in Manila, Philippines in 1932.[1] She attended her grade school in the Philippines, before moving to the United States with her family where she earned her high school diploma in New York. In 1954, she received her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in sociology and anthropology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 1955, she returned to the Philippines with husband, Helmut Hollsteiner and obtained a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1960.[2]


From 1979 to 1983, she joined UNICEF in New York as Senior Policy Specialist, Family/Child Welfare and Women’s Development (1979-83). Racelis then became UNICEF Regional Director in Eastern and Southern Africa (1983-92). Upon returning to the Philippines in 1992 as Country Representative of the Ford Foundation (1992-97), and has served since 1997 as a consultant to the Philippine government, UNICEF, and various international agencies.[3]

In 2003-04, she was appointed to the UN Secretary-General's Panel on United Nations—Civil Society Relations.[4] She also worked on socio-cultural and gender issues in pro-poor sustainable tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion.[5]

She teaches sociology and anthropology courses at the University of the Philippines Diliman and the Ateneo de Manila University.


In 2001, Racelis won the Philippine National Book Award, in the category of History, for the book Bearers of Benevolence: The Thomasites and Public Education in the Philippines, which she co-edited with Judy Celine Ick.[6]


  • Making Philippine Cities Child Friendly: Voices of Children in Poor Communities (2005)
  • Bearers of Benevolence: The Thomasites and Public Education in the Philippines, co-edited (2001)


  1. "Mary Racelis". Langham Publishing. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  2. The International Who's Who of Women 2002. London: Europa Publications. 2002. p. 436. ISBN 9781857431223. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  3. "70 years of Unicef". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  4. "Press Briefing by Panel on UN-Civil Society Relations". United Nations. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  5. "REG: Sustainable Tourism Development Project" (PDF). Asian Development Bank. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  6. "Award Winning Books". National Book Development Board. Retrieved 15 September 2020.

External Links

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