SEARCA Director urges NVSU graduates to tackle agri challenges

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, Center Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), delivered the commencement speech at the 20th Commencement Exercises of Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU) held on 27 June 2024 at the Carlos M. Padilla Convention Center in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. Speaking before graduates, faculty, and guests, Dr. Gregorio emphasized the vital role that every graduate can play in addressing agricultural challenges and contributing to agricultural development, regardless of their field of study or chosen profession.

In his speech, Dr. Gregorio congratulated the graduates and acknowledged the significant support of their families, highlighting the collaborative journey that led to this academic milestone. He drew connections between agriculture and various disciplines, citing how graduates from diverse fields such as engineering, technology, business, economics, social sciences, and environmental studies can contribute to sustainable agricultural development.

Dr. Gregorio shared his personal journey from being a rice scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to leading SEARCA, an organization committed to promoting agricultural and rural development across Southeast Asia. He underscored SEARCA's mission to accelerate transformation through agricultural innovation (ATTAIN).

Reflecting on the commencement theme, "A Score of Our Past, the Bridge of Our Future," Dr. Gregorio encouraged the graduates to recognize the interconnectedness of agriculture with various sectors. He explained how agriculture is fundamental to sustainable development as it influences global trade, technological advancements, environmental conservation, and social progress.

Dr. Gregorio urged graduates to embrace modern technologies, innovate, and apply their knowledge and skills to create solutions that address global challenges. He emphasized the importance of character education, ethical conduct, and resilience in navigating the evolving landscape of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He concluded his speech with a call to action and encouraged the graduates to step up and step out, making significant contributions to their communities and beyond.

Quoting the first SEARCA Director, National Scientist Dioscoro Umali, Dr. Gregorio urged the graduates: "Be the heroes we never were and live."