LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – Hundreds of scientists, academics, and government executives from 11 Southeast Asian countries will converge here in the fourth week of November.
The activities that will bring them together to this "Special Science and Nature City" are in line with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)'s 50th anniversary.
SEARCA is one of the 21 regional centers 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.
Established in 1966 and currently headed by director Gil Saguiguit Jr., SEARCA is mandated to provide capacity building interventions to promote agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia through its scholarship, research, knowledge management and training programs.
Theme of the anniversary commemoration is "Celebrating the Golden Years of Advancing Agricultural and Rural Development in Southeast Asia Through Science and Education."
During the "Grand SEARCA Alumni Homecoming" on Nov. 25, the center will launch the "Golden Harvest: Leaders and Innovators of Agriculture and Rural Development in Southeast Asia."
The "Outstanding SEARCA Scholarship Award (OSSA)" will be conferred on 11 exemplary fellows (graduates) from six SEAMEO countries.
Five of the OSSA awardees are Filipinos: current Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano, Naomi Tangonan of the University of Southern Mindanao, Delfin Ganapin Jr. of the United Nations-Global Environment Facility, Generoso Octavio of the Ahon sa Hirap Inc., and UPLB professor emeritus Lucrecio Rebugio.
The other OSSA awardees are two Thais, two Indonesians, one Malaysian, and one Vietnamese. A Cambodian and a Timorese will also receive the Emerging Leaders in Transition Economies award.