Cuenco Earns Award from United Nations

Edwin Cuenco, assistant professor of art at Arkansas Tech University, has been honored by the United Nations for his work to aid in the prevention of human trafficking in Africa. Cuenco received a 2010 online volunteering award from the United Nations Volunteers program in recognition of his graphic design work on behalf of the Association Against Women Export (AAWE) in Nigeria. AAWE raised $20,000 by selling t-shirts, mugs and calendars designed by Cuenco. The funds will be used to aid the AAWE scholarship and credit programs to benefit women in Africa and help them realize their potential. “Online volunteering completely changed my life,” said Cuenco (photographed). “I didn’t choose it. In some ways, it chose me. I always learn something new, share my skills, meet new friends and get the chance to help other people. Moreover, I think I grew personally and became a better, more caring individual.” The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) online volunteering program is in its 10th year. According to a news release from the United Nations, more than 9,000 online volunteers participate in the program. The UNV online volunteering awards honor individuals who work entirely over the Internet to contribute to peace and to the development and achievement of the organization’s millennium development goals. “Edwin is always cheerful and ready to go the extra mile,” said Rosaline Osemetiti Okosun, president and founder of AAWE. “His excellent work has helped us improve the image of our programs. We now proudly display our visual communication materials in public and this has helped in creating awareness about human trafficking.” Cuenco extended the benefits of online volunteering to his Arkansas Tech students, who designed posters, brochures and flyers for AAWE as part of class projects. “I volunteer online because it is my civic and moral duty,” said Cuenco, who is a native of the Philippines. “I have learned that if we do not help each other nothing will ever be sustainable. This makes me feel good as I remember growing up in poor and indigent surroundings. Since then I swore that I would give back in any way I could. As I enjoy my online volunteer experience, I plan to keep on helping to the extent that I am able to for my entire life.”

Cuenco earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Philippine Women’s University in 1988. He received a terminal Master of Fine Arts degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1998.

A member of the Arkansas Tech faculty since 2008, Cuenco was named 2010 educator of the year by the Arkansas Advertising Federation.

Cuenco was honored by his homeland in July 2010 when a sampling of his digital prints and photographs were put on display at the Republic of the Philippines Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the New York City Consulate.