The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Universidade da Paz (UNPAZ) institutionalized their mutual cooperation to collaborate in a number of areas of common interest such as education, training, and research.
Moreover, UNPAZ and SEARCA agreed to collaborate in undertaking programs, projects, and other related activities, exchange scientific materials, publications, and information.
In a face-to-face signing ceremony held on 10 October 2022, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties was signed by Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, and Engr. Jose Menezes Soares da Costa, UNPAZ Administration Council President, with Assoc. Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration, and Mr. Luis Pereira Cardoso, UNPAZ Vice Rector for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, as witnesses.
Engr. da Costa emphasized the partnership as a good chance to learn from SEARCA particularly in the areas of research and scientific publication.
“Research and publication are not yet a habit for us in UNPAZ. We would like to learn a lot from you. We, from UNPAZ, are in the learning process and we believe in learning by doing,” said the UNPAZ Administration Council President.
UNPAZ is a private university established by Neon Metin Foundation (NMF) with principal office at Dili, Timor-Leste. With the Center’s focus in agricultural and rural development (ARD), the agreement will engage with UNPAZ Faculty of Technology of Agriculture with 2 study programs namely, Food Processing Technology and Natural Resource Conservation studies.
Mr. Hitu Carvalho de Jesus, Attaché for Education, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to the Philippines, expressed his gratitude to SEARCA for providing formal education scholarships to Timorese students.
“So far, we had had quite many Timorese students graduated from SEARCA and I am glad to know that they have had SEARCA Alumni Association of Timor-Leste,” said Attaché de Jesus.
He further added that the MOU is a commitment for Timor-Leste to work more closely towards pursuing a better quality in education. He hopes that both SEARA and UNPAZ will invest more in activities such as in joint research and program development, as well as provide more study opportunities in the future.
So far, there are 69 full graduate scholarships (51 MS and 18 PhD) awarded to Timor-Leste nationals. These include the scholars funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) under a special scholarship project for Timor-Leste nationals in 2003. To date, there are 54 Timorese scholars (42 MS and 12 PhD) who have completed their graduate programs.