The Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) has recently hosted the Seventh International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development (7th ICERD 2016) and Third IDRC-SEARCA Annual Fellowship plus Conference-Workshop which had some 550 participants from 15 countries.
According to a press release of the Philippines-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) AKP received this morning, the events were co-organized by SEARCA, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, RUA, International Society of Environmental and Rural Development (ISERD), Institute of Environmental Rehabilitation and Conservation (ERECON), and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS).
With the theme Environmentally friendly Agricultural and Rural Development, the conference discussed suitable and effective strategies for sustainable rural development, taking into account the agricultural and environmental attributes in developing countries. Eighty-four papers were presented under four thematic areas: Education for Sustainable Rural Development, Rural Development, Environmental Management, and Agricultural Systems. The conference also featured poster papers and a field tour to Kampong Speu province in southwest Cambodia.
Among the participants were 31 scholars under the IDRC-SEARCA Southeast Asian Upland Agriculture Fellowship project, six members of the project’s Advisory Committee from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand, including Dr. Mom Seng, RUA Vice Rector. The IDRC-SEARCA scholars are from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Dr. Annie Wesley, IDRC Senior Program Specialist, was also present at the special session wherein the thesis proposals presented by 20 IDRC-SEARCA scholars were critiqued by the Advisory Committee along with a Thai resource person who also offered recommendations for improvement of the research proposals.
Headed by Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., SEARCA is mandated to strengthen institutional capacities towards inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia through graduate education, research and development, and knowledge management. SEARCA partners with other development organizations such as IDRC and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and government agencies to provide master’s and PhD scholarships to Southeast Asians, including Cambodians.
To date, SEARCA has awarded 71 full master’s and PhD scholarships as well as nine academic bridging scholarships to Cambodians.