Clockwise from top left: SEARCA Center Director Glenn Gregorio and FPEmpresa President and Board Member García Domínguez, SEARCA Deputy Director Joselito Florendo and FPEmpresa coordinator (Madrid and International) and Board Member Carlos de Olagüe Smithson, showed the signed MOU.

SEARCA, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, and Spain’s FPEmpresa, a nonprofit association of vocational education and training (VET) centers, have joined forces in a five-year partnership. The collaboration aims to enhance vocational education and training in Southeast Asia.

In a virtual signing ceremony on January 24, 2024, SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio and FPEmpresa President Luis García Domínguez formalized the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

This collaboration represents a step towards SEARCA’s vision of expanding its network and fostering sustainable development.

Under the MOU, SEARCA and FPEmpresa will collaborate on capacity development programs, including mobility and training initiatives. Additionally, they will work on knowledge resource projects by connecting FPEmpresa’s VET centers with SEARCA and its network of partners.

Gregorio emphasized that the partnership aligns with SEARCA’s goal of building a community of best practices and enhancing capacity for sustainable development. He expressed hope that this collaboration would lead to further partnerships between SEARCA and Spain.

Domínguez echoed these sentiments, viewing the collaborative activities as a positive step in improving vocational education and training, initially in the Philippines and later in Spain.

The signing ceremony included key figures from FPEmpresa, SEARCA, and the Embassy of Spain, emphasizing the commitment to international cooperation. Jimeno Ortas, facilitating the discussions, highlighted the MOU as an instrument uniting organizations with shared interests in vocational training and higher education, emphasizing its significance for the governments involved.

SEARCA Deputy Director for Programs, Dr. Nur Azura Adam, expressed excitement about the partnership’s future and the positive impact on vocational education. The collaboration is expected to open doors to new possibilities for teachers and students, fostering excellence in agricultural studies.