SEARCA honors its graduating scholars at the Testimonial Program held on 22 June 2017. On its 50th year anniversary, 50 scholars earned their MS and PhD degrees, 23 of whom obtained their degrees in SEARCA's overseas study posts. Out of the 35 MS and 15 PhD graduates, 25 were supported by the joint collaboration with the International Development Centre (IDRC) of Canada, while six were supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and one by the UC-Tokyo NODAI joint scholarship.
The road towards completing their studies would not have been possible without their hard work, dedication, and the support of their advisers. This was attested by two graduates who gave their speeches during the Testimonial Program, namely, Ms. Sengsavang Sisouraj, MS Rural Sociology, from Lao PDR, and Ms. Su Latt Phyu, PhD Plant Breeding, from Myanmar.
They shared their struggles when they started their program at UPLB – the difficulty of adjusting to a new environment far from their homes. Eventually, they met new friends and started to enjoy their stay in the Philippines.
The scholars expressed gratefulness towards SEARCA for the Center's support in their studies and academic life, "Knowing I have been awarded (with) this scholarship made me feel proud," Su Latt Phyu said.
The goal of finishing their degrees and coming back to their countries kept them going. Sengsavang Sisouraj even shared the 10 habits to happiness, which helped her maintain a positive disposition despite the demands of her graduate studies.
SEARCA Director, Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. requested the scholars to put their knowledge and skills to good use, which is, for the benefit of their respective families, home institutions, and countries. More so, he asked the new graduate alumni to remember SEARCA and "take every opportunity to support and contribute to its mandate and development goals."
The graduates joined the pool of some 1,400 SEARCA alumni spread across Southeast Asia. Further, it is with great pride that SEARCA will see these scholars return to their countries and become movers of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (ISARD).