Saturday, 23 September 2017

Fulbright Facilitates ASEAN Scholars To Conduct Research in US

ASEAN. (Antara)
Jakarta, (Antara Sumbar) - Fulbright US-ASEAN Visiting Scholar Initiative continues to facilitate scholars from 10 ASEAN member states to carry out three or four months of research at US universities.

The program includes a wide range of subjects including maritime security, climate change, health, finance, political security, wildlife trafficking, and teaching English as a second language.

Launched in 2012 to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the ASEAN-US partnership, the program has been providing scholarships for 49 ASEAN scholars whose work focuses on US-ASEAN issues.

"It might be a research that initially targeted one country, but since it is easily related to others, the value can be shared among others. That would be the difference between somebody doing a Fulbright in the regular country-specific program and this US-ASEAN program," Public Affairs Officer of the US Mission to ASEAN, Andrea Appell, stated ahead of the sharing session of Fulbright alumni and scholars at the US Embassy's American cultural center @america in Jakarta on Tuesday (Aug 29).

The Fulbright research scholarship for the ASEAN scholars not only includes supporting US commitment to ASEAN by sharing relatable resources but also affirming the importance of ASEAN's position for the US as a region that consistently promotes stability, rules-based borders, peace, economic growth, and people-to-people relations.

"This is also an opportunity for us to be able to create new beginnings and collaboration between American and ASEAN universities," Appell noted.

Assistant Director of Education, Youth and Sport Division of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Department, Abigail Cuales Lanceta, sees the Fulbright initiative as a chore that can involve all the issues in ASEAN in order to establish the ASEAN Community Vision by 2025.

Scholars going to carry out their research in the US are expected to learn what ASEAN can benefit from the advancements in the US and bring home the knowledge, experiences, and exposure to help realize such ambitions.

"One scholar going to the US must be coming back with a heart to reach out to the community, which means multiple benefits to ASEAN and ASEAN nationals," Lanceta remarked.

As ASEAN is now reaching out towards possibilities for the grassroot communities to change its elitist approach, the role of ASEAN scholars is going to be very important to establish partnerships between universities and communities, so that their academic knowledge and experience can have a bigger impact for the region, she stated.

Fulbright US-ASEAN Visiting Scholar Initiative also helps in connecting scholars with experts whom they wish to work with.

Kevin Henry Reyes Villanueva, a Fulbright awardee and Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of the Philippines Visayas, is among those who received the chance to work with Amitav Acharya, Distinguished Professor of International Relations at American University, Washington, DC, where he holds the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance at the School of International Service and serves as the chair of the ASEAN Studies Initiative.   

He will be departing to US in Jan 2018 and is eager to establish a model of ASEAN negotiations to be applied to the negotiation process outside ASEAN countries.

"I think we actually have to start looking at the kind of values that we negotiate, where we are looking at integrating and cooperating internationally. So far, the whole history of political order has been looking at equality and freedom, but here in ASEAN, we value harmony, not peace.. It includes peace, but there is an element about harmony, which is not an individual value but communal value," he stated. (*)

Editor: Vicha Faradika

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