In Memoriam: A Message from Asia Society Philippines on Sheila Platt (1936-2018)

In Memoriam: A Message from Asia Society Philippines on Sheila Platt

SHEILA M. PLATT, wife of former Ambassador to the Philippines  Nicholas Platt, passed away peacefully at surrounded by her family  on May 15, 2018, at home in New York City.


Even after Ambassador Platt left the Philippines to take up his post as US Ambassador to Pakistan, and eventually returning to New York in November 1992 after retiring from the Foreign Service to become President of the Asia Society, Sheila Platt continued to return yearly to the Philippines, to continue her work as board member of the Community Family Service International (CFSI), a refugee mental health organization in the Philippines and Hong Kong, Save the Children, Philippines, and the American Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Manila.  


Sheila Platt devoted her time and energies to a remarkable range of causes.  As a volunteer she worked with refugees in Hong Kong, with the Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) in Tokyo, with Youth for Understanding International Student Exchange in Washington, with the Mental Health Association and the University Health Clinic of Zambia, and with various women's organizations in the Philippines and Pakistan.   She was also a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Sheila practiced psychiatric and medical social work in Washington, D.C., with the International Social Service of Japan in Tokyo, the In Touch Foundation in Manila, and international schools in Africa and Asia. She provided consultant and training services at many volunteer organizations, as well as to the Department of State, the Peace Corps and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.


Mrs. Platt's special interests on Refugees could have stemmed from her own experience as an  international migrant herself, having moved with her husband and children in his foreign service posts in Canada, Taiwan, The People's Republic of China, Japan, Zambia, the Philippines and Pakistan, as well as in Washington, D.C.

She was a life-long student of the problems as well as resources of refugees and others, who willingly or unwillingly, find themselves moving within their own country or across national boundaries.


Mrs. Platt has lectured for CFSI in the City University of New York Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance course and at the Columbia University School of Journalism on “Occupational Stress Management for Journalists Covering Regional Conflicts.”  Mrs. Platt represented CFSI at the UN-NGO Committee on Mental Health in New York and at other meetings.  

Mrs. Platt attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., completing her undergraduate work at Trinity College, Washington, with a BA in English Literature. She went on to Catholic University where she received her Master's degree in Social Work in 1973.  

She applied her deep skills of discernment as a professional, as a volunteer, as a mother, and as a greatly valued member of the Asia Society family.  


She leaves a strong legacy in those bridges of understanding she built, and of course in her family.  

She was loved by many Filipino friends, held in a cherished place as a person of inspiration, intelligence and great humanity.‎ 

She was also the cherished mother of Adam, a writer; Oliver, an actor and Nicholas Jr., an investment banker; and grandmother to eight grandchildren.


Sheila was a native of New York City.




Message from Doris Magsaysay-Ho

Chair, Asia Society Philippines