‘Be an inspiration and role models’: Aussie diplomat tells Bangsamoro scholars

An Australian embassy official urged the Bangsamoro youth who have graduated and will study under the In-Country Scholarship Program (ICSP) of the Australian Government “to be inspiration and role models to fellow Moros” during the recognition of graduates and scholarship contract signing ceremony held at Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, last Friday (May 20).

“I hope that you will serve as inspiration and role models to your fellow Moros in pursuit of higher education and service to your communities,” said Timothy Smith, First Secretary of Australian Embassy, addressed to 10 ICSP1 graduates and 51 ICSP2 grant recipients who will take their post graduate studies in partner academic institutions from 2016-2018.

ICSP is implemented by the Philippine Australia Human Resource and Organizational Development Facility (PAHRODF). 

Launched in June 2012, around 99 postgraduate scholarship grants under the ICSP1 were awarded to targeted professionals based in Mindanao majority are coming from conflict affected areas.

The scholarship grant recipients were endorsed by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and the Department of Education- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“The ICSP is focused in conflict affected areas in Mindanao with the view to building a body of educated Moros who can provide services to the communities and be experts in their fields,” Smith said and added, “The Australian government believes that education is the essential elements for future prosperity.”

He explained, “This is one of the reasons why the key focus area for Australian Aid program in the Philippines is basic education and higher education through scholarship.”

The embassy official said the Australian scholarship is aimed to develop leaders and to build stronger institutions that can drive development.

“Australia sees support to education is complementing other efforts in the pursuit of peace and development in the Bangsamoro region,” Smith pointed out and related that his country has been supporting peace and security in this country for 20 years now.

He said that the successful peace process can create a condition for security and economic development in Bangsamoro “bringing about an improvement to the lives of people who live there.”

“Being awarded a scholarship is one initial step towards a well-rounded education. You can’t succeed without hard work, perseverance and commitment,” Smith said.

He added, “The ICSP has provided the opportunity to you, graduates and new scholars to be instruments of change and development in your respective communities and organizations.”

“Australia hopes that what you learned will benefit not only the Bangsamoro specifically but the Philippines as a whole.”

BDA Chairman Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan and BLMI Executive Director Sheikh Mahmoud Ahmad also graced the occasion and gave their inspirational messages.