Exchange programme adds value to the Asean Community

AS THE US-Asean partnership celebrates its 40th anniversary, this year also marks the fifth year of the Fulbright US – Asean Visiting Scholars Programme. Since its inception, the programme has sent almost 40 scholars to the United States of America. In 2017, another 10 scholars from Asean member countries will travel to the US to conduct research at US universities on a wide range of subjects including education, health, finance, political security, environment, and art.

A Pre-Departure Orientation Workshop was held on August 29 at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta, where the 2017 scholars gathered to present their research proposals and network with Fulbright alumni. Participants from Brunei Darussalam included 2017 awardee of the programme, Dr Malai Zeiti Sheikh Abdul Hamid of Politeknik Brunei, and 2015 alum Dr Teng Leong Koay of Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

The programme included remarks by the Deputy Chief of Mission of US Mission to Asean, Jane Bocklage and the Deputy Secretary General of Asean for Socio-Cultural Community, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee. It also included a launch of the Fulbright US-Asean Visiting Scholars’ Abstract Book, an interactive session on US-Asean priorities and the US-Asean partnership, and the scholars’ experiences and hopes for the programme.

Brunei’s 2017 recipient, Dr Malai Zeiti Hamid, noted, “Personally, the whole experience was highly memorable as I was able to meet new colleagues, exchange information, network, and learn from others on what to expect before embarking on the programme.”

Dr Teng Leong Koay continued, “The US Department of State – through the US Mission to Asean and the Asean Secretariat – is successfully working to strengthen US-Asean partnerships. Through initiatives such as the recent pre-departure orientation for the Fulbright US-Asean Visiting Scholars Initiative Programme in Jakarta, collaboration and networking is encouraged between US and Asean institutions, promoting research in tackling a wide range of current issues of common interest.”

Fulbright US-Asean Visiting Scholars have worked on critical research topics and made notable findings. There have been a total of four scholars from Brunei since 2013.

Applications for the 2018 Fulbright US-Asean Visiting Scholar award are now open to university faculty, foreign ministry and government officials, and professional staff of think tanks and NGOs. For information on applying please visit the embassy website: https://bn.usembassy.gov/education-culture/fulbright-program/fulbright-us-asean-initiative/. – (Embassy of the United States of America, Brunei Darussalam)