Canadian High Commissioner to Brunei Caterina Ventura. Photo: Ain Bandial/The Scoop

ASEAN students can soon apply for over $10 million in scholarships funded by the Canadian government.

Applications for the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED) initiative will open in January 2018, providing opportunities for short-term studies or research to post-secondary students and mid-career professionals from Southeast Asia.

“International education fuels people-to-people ties that are crucial to long-term success in an increasingly interconnected global economy,” said Caterina Ventura, the Canadian High Commissioner to the sultanate. “But it’s also an opportunity for students from Brunei to educate Canadians about Brunei. I see the ASEAN students as ambassadors for ASEAN.”

Ventura said she hoped the SEED initiative would encourage more Bruneians to study in Canada, noting that lack of familiarity and distance were barriers.

Scholarships will be awarded in fields that contribute to ASEAN’s efforts to narrow the development gap and reduce poverty in Southeast Asia, such as climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy, public financial management, and sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.

SEED scholarships are facilitated through institutional collaborations and student exchange agreements between Canadian and ASEAN institutions. Interested candidates should contact their local institutions to find out if there is an existing collaboration with a Canadian institution.

“Providing educational exchanges to these promising young people will empower them and ensure they can be real agents of social and economic change in their communities and countries,” said Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, when the SEED initiative was announced back in August. 

In 2014, almost 12,000 students from ASEAN were enrolled in Canada, according to the ASEAN Secretariat, representing “a strong and growing interest in Canada’s educational institutions”.

Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh said that this new scholarship scheme would promote higher education and human capital development, which are key to ASEAN growth and priorities.