Operation One ASEAN: Towards Food Security in 2020
(SEARCA-DAAD Alumni Associations
Regional Consultative Workshop)
2013 75 pp.
The regional consultative workshop of the SEARCA graduate alumni provided a platform for various countries in the region to share valuable initiatives towards attainment of food security. As SEARCA recognizes its alumni to be its most valuable partners in the region, the workshop likewise became an opportunity for the alumni association to conceptualize projects on food security that are of common interest. The workshop became a venue to revitalize the alumni associations and gave the opportunity for country representatives from Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Timor Leste to start planning towards the formation of their respective associations.
Thirty seven participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam joined the 3-day workshop which was jointly funded by SEARCA and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
During the opening ceremonies, Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, emphasized that “our former scholars are our greatest ally, in our quest to improve the living conditions in the individual countries and region we mutually serve.” Dr. Saguiguit extended his appreciation to DAAD for its continuing support to SEARCA’s scholarship program and in supporting the activity and looked forward to more collaborative undertakings with DAAD.
On the other hand, Dr. Crisanto Dorado, Vice Chancellor for Administration of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) represented the Chancellor, Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, in formally opening the workshop and in welcoming the SEARCA-DAAD alumni to the university where most of them graduated. Dr. Dorado reiterated UPLB’s support to SEARCA, as an active member of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) and home to most of the SEARCA scholars, especially amidst the regional developments such as the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ilona Krueger, Head, South and Southeast Asia Section of DAAD, the co-sponsor for the said event, anticipated that the event become an important platform for a fruitful exchange among DAAD and SEARCA alumni.
The opening program highlight was the keynote speech from Dr. Saguiguit titled, “Championing Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development towards Food Security in Southeast Asia,” which set the tone for the consultative-workshop and outlined the Center’s food security initiatives for the coming years as well as the role of the alumni in this strategic direction.
Dr. Saguiguit’s presentation was followed by two plenary papers, namely “Challenges and Opportunities in ASEAN Agricultural Higher Education: Implications to Food Security,” by Dr. Cecilio R. Arboleda, Executive Director of UPLB Foundation, Inc., and “Meta-Analysis of SEARCA’s Food Security Researches: Approach and Initial Findings,” by Dr. Dinah Pura T. Depositario, Associate Professor, College of Economics and Management, UPLB, who is also a SEARCA alumna and now an Adjunct Fellow of the Center. A total of eight country paper presentations, grouped into two parallel sessions, succeeded the plenary presentations. The following countries were represented: Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Timor Leste. These papers highlighted the various food security situations and initiatives in the different countries in the Southeast Asian region.
On the second day, the same group met to lay out possible food security related projects that can address common concerns on food security and can serve as the SEARCA alumni banner projects in the region. Two proposals were presented with the titles “Sustainable Food Production Technologies: A Community- Based Approach to Food Security and Climate Change Resiliency in the ASEAN Region,” and “Enhancing Smallholders’ Capacity Towards Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, Timor Leste (CLMVT).”
The new RSFA officers were elected pursuant to the provisions of the constitution and by-laws of the RSFA, as follows: President: Dr. Cecilia N. Gascon (Philippines); Vice-President: Dr. Aulia Tasman (Indonesia); Secretary/Treasurer: Ms. Jennifer Peña-Fronteras (Philippines); Public Relations Officer: Dr. Lorenzo C. Lapitan, Jr. (Philippines).
The following country representatives were also identified: Cambodia - Mr. Em Sorany; Indonesia - Dr. Sugeng Prayitno Harianto; Lao PDR - Dr. Oudom Phonekampheng; Malaysia - Dr. Mohd. Salleh Bin Haji Hassan; Myanmar - Dr. Khin Thanda Oo; Philippines - Dr. Inocencio E. Buot, Jr.; Thailand - Dr. Monton Jamroenpruksa; Timor Leste - Mr. Natalino Babo Martins; and Vietnam - Dr. Trinh Dinh Thau.
In her remarks during the closing ceremonies, Dr. Virginia R. Cardenas, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration, said the two-day event opened new ways of how SEARCA and the alumni network can collaborate as partners towards the common goal of a food secure Southeast Asia, which can move forward with the commitment and cooperation of the members of each team. Witnessing how former students have become leaders of their respective institutions all over Southeast Asia, is also an affirmation of the Center’s mission of “molding” leaders in the agriculture and rural development of Southeast Asia, made possible through SEARCA’s graduate scholarship program, among other activities.
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