This was the essence of the Agriculture, Skills and Knowledge (ASK) Asia, a research project supported by the Erasmus Mundus Action (EMA) 3, which aimed toevaluate the competitiveness of Erasmus Mundus alumni in the field of agriculture and related life sciencesthrough their experiences and the expectations of their employers in six Asian countries (Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam).
From 21 to 23 September 2015, the Czech University of Life Sciences played host to more than 70 participants from Asia and Europe, including the incoming mobility students of another EMA supported project ALFABET for the Ask Asia Workshop on “Employability of Erasmus Mundus alumni and new approaches of Erasmus +.”
SEARCA through the Graduate Education and Institutional Development Department (GEIDD) was invited as one of the stakeholders to share learnings and experiences in the management of capacity building activities, including strategies for alumni relations.
With more than 40 years in scholarship management and administration, SEARCA shared the perceived benefits of the scholarship and the graduate study according to its scholarship alumni, as well as their organizations. These included horizontal and soft skills such as flexibility and resourcefulness, networking and intercultural communication. Expectedly, these gains were also echoed by the other stakeholders present in the workshop. Another common tie that binds the participants was the challenge to intensify marketing and dissemination of their programs to Asians, who usually prefer to have their graduate education in America, Australia, and Japan. As such, aside from websites, institutions feel that face-to-face interaction with the target beneficiaries through roadshows and fairs are inevitable, as well as leveraging on the alumni as the brand ambassadors.
The global village creates a borderless community no longer characterized by distance and cultural differences. As such, collaboration and partnership are keys towards more efficient and effective achievement of common goals and objectives. Through the Ask Asia workshops, various stakeholders, including SEARCA were able to establish new networks, strengthen existing partnerships, and identify future collaborative projects and activities in a global scale, but with national impact.