SEARCA officials meet 3 ambassadors

FOCUSING on the center's upcoming initiatives and potential collaboration opportunities to enhance agricultural development in the region, the leadership of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) recently met with three ambassadors in a series of diplomatic engagements.

According to Leah Domingo, SEARCA partnership unit public relations specialist, SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio met with ambassadors of Israel, Canada and France to the Philippines, the center's host country, to boost agricultural development in Southeast Asia.

Domingo said two were envoys of associate member countries of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), SEARCA's mother organization.

She said Gregorio met with Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss, along with Ester Buzgan, the incoming deputy ambassador to the Philippines, and Dee Urtua, development cooperation officer at the Embassy of the State of Israel.

The meeting was on the sidelines of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) Annual Scientific Meeting at the Manila Hotel.

Domingo said Gregorio's talks with the Israeli diplomats revolved around SEARCA's future projects, and the possible contributions that Israel could make in their co-design and implementation.

In the evening of the same day, a SEARCA delegation led by Gregorio attended the celebration of Canada Day at the Grand Hyatt Manila, where he and his colleagues met Canadian Ambassador David Hartman and Eric Russo, counselor and readiness and security program manager at the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines.

During their discussion, Domingo said the SEARCA team briefed embassy officials in the center, its scope and its mandate, fostering a deeper understanding of SEARCA's work.

Their most recent partnership was the completed Southeast Asian Upland Agriculture Fellowships funded by the International Development Research Center Canada and implemented by SEARCA.

Gregorio also attended the Bastille Day celebration at the Embassy of France in the Philippines on July 14, 2023 where he met French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz.

Domingo said the meeting provided another opportunity to reaffirm the long-standing partnership between SEARCA and France, particularly in research and capacity development programs.

She said currently SEARCA is hosting two Master of Science Agronomy students from Isara-Lyon as they undertake their internship.

Edith Coronel is working with SEARCA on its School-Plus-Home Gardens and School Edible Landscaping for Entrepreneurship projects, while Louise Fau is immersed in the center's web-based Integrated and Spatial Engine and Smart Ecosystem or Wise Carbon and calamansi projects.