SEARCA showcases innovation, research initiatives to visiting TW-PH youth delegation

  • By Leah Lyn Domingo
  • 11 July 2023

SEARCA showcases innovation, research initiatives to visiting TW-PH youth delegation

In an enriching cultural and academic exchange, 40 Taiwanese and Filipino students from the Youth Cultural and Learning Immersion Camp, along with two Taiwanese professors, visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 10 July 2023.

The visit was aimed at enhancing the students' understanding of the Center's influential research and work on climate change, rural development, and food security; and it was arranged by the University of the Philippines Open University's (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies under its Project LAKBAY (Learning Actively through Knowledge-Based Appreciation for Youth).

The students were accompanied by Dr. Eing Ming Wu, executive director of Edu-Connect Southeast Asia Association and chair professor of Shu-Te University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and a SEARCA senior fellow, and Dr. Ching-Mei Lu.

The delegation was welcomed by Assoc. Prof. Joselito Florendo, SEARCA deputy director for administration, who briefed the group about the Center and its services. Atty. Eric Reynoso, program head of the Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD), talked about his department's functions, initiatives, and projects. Meanwhile, Ms. Anna Gale Vallez, program specialist at the Research and Thought Leadership Department (RTLD), presented completed and ongoing RTLD projects along the topics of interest to the students. The visit was coordinated by Sharon Malaiba, SEARCA unit head for partnerships, who also moderated the program.

Several student delegates and UPOU staff expressed interest in acquiring more information on SEARCA programs, such as the Grants for Research towards Agricultural Innovative Solutions (GRAINS) and the RTLD-led project focusing on the coconut industry in Quezon province, Philippines. Furthermore, other potential commodities and industries were brought up as potential research areas.

Adding to the discourse, Dr. Wu put forward possible areas for collaboration that SEARCA could consider with UPOU, along with a prospective visit to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Specific suggestions included the development of an online course on barangay transformation in close association with UPOU. Responding to this, Assoc. Prof. Florendo shared news of the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) between SEARCA and UPOU on the tri-conference consisting of the International Conference on Open and Distance e-Learning 2023 (ICODEL 2023), the International Symposium on Education and AI Convergence 2023 (ISEAC 2023), and ASEANnale 2023 as well as online course offerings.

Furthermore, Dr. Wu offered to connect SEARCA with experts on smart agriculture.