Myanmar cites SEARCA for lead role in agricultural development

  • 14 December 2015, Monday

Source: The Philippine Star
13 Dec 2015

MANILA, Philippines - The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has been recognized for “its significant contribution and continuous support to sustainable agriculture sector development in Myanmar.”

Myanmar President Thein Sein presented the award to the SEARCA for its “significant contribution and continuous support to sustainable agriculture sector development through human resource development in Myanmar.”

SEARCA director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. received the award presented by President Thein Sein during Myanmar’s commemoration of World Food Day, which was attended by diplomats and officials of various countries, and representatives of United Nations agencies, other international organizations, and the private sector.

SEARCA is one of the regional “centers of excellence” (COEs) of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), an inter-government treaty body founded in 1965 to promote cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in education, science, and culture.

The Philippines and Myanmar are among the 11 members of SEAMEO, which turned 50 last Nov. 30.

The organization’s highest policy-making body is the SEAMEO Council composed of the education ministers of the 11 Southeast Asian countries. Education Secretary Armin Luistro represents the Philippines in the council.

SEAMEO pursues its programs and activities through the COEs it has established in the member-countries over the past half a century.

At present, 27 Myanmar nationals are pursuing their doctoral (PhD) and master’s (MS) degrees in universities in the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia as SEAMEO-SEARCA scholars.

To date, 80 PhD and MS scholarships have been awarded to Myanmar nationals since SEARCA’s graduate study program was launched in 1968-69. Of the scholars, 53 have earned their PhD and MS degrees.

Moreover, 167 people from Myanmar have participated in 33 international, regional, and national training and seminars conducted by SEARCA.

Myanmar has also participated in seven SEARCA-organized Roundtables for Policymakers and Rural Development Practitioners from 2004 to 2011. Myanmar hosted three of these  meetings.

At present, Myanmar researchers are implementing research projects funded by SEARCA under its Seed Fund for Research and Training (SFRT). Myanmar is also covered by two ongoing regional SEARCA projects.

Yezin Agricultural University is one of the first beneficiaries of SEARCA’s Institutional Development Assistance program, which develops strategic universities in SEAMEO countries that have the potential to contribute to the country’s development.