Photo Courtesy of SEARCA

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and The Head Foundation is running the 2024 Leadership Development Program for Higher Education Institutions (LDP-HEIs) in Southeast Asia. The regional learning event operates in a hybrid format from March to July. This year’s theme is
Designing and Leading Your University to the Desired Future. This is an opportunity to recognize and learn the function of HEIs and their reliance on essential stakeholders, delve into potential partnerships with various universities, and evolve into strategic-thinking leaders.

For its sixth run, Dr. Jay Picardal, Director of the Research Institute of Tropical Biology & Pharmacological Biotechnology (RITBPB), was offered a full SEARCA grant among only ten recipients.

From May 6-10, he embarked on a travel mission to Thailand for the face-to-face sessions of the program, co-hosted by the Kasetsart University. Here the participants engaged in their Re-entry Action Plan (REAP) pitching and refinement, site visits, as well as guest lectures. The plenary sessions explored the importance of aligning educational outcomes to future needs as well as trends and best practices on internationalization. The participants were guided by experts such as Dr. N. Varaprasad, Founder and Partner at Singapore Education Consulting Group, Dr. Calvin Chan, Assistant Provost (Curricula and Student Matters) of the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), and Dr. Rebekah Lim, Associate Professor and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center of SUSS.

Photo Courtesy of SEARCA


The Thailand sessions also offered the unique face-to-face opportunity to explore potential collaborative efforts with national, transnational, and regional ecosystems. Dr. Picardal networked with representatives of fellow HEIs from the Philippines, participants from the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali from Brunei, the Royal University of Agriculture and Svay Rieng University from Cambodia, the Universitas Diponegoro and Universitas Sumatera Utara from Indonesia, the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak from Malaysia, and the Can Tho University and Tay Nguyen University from Vietnam.

The 2024 Leadership Development Program for Higher Education Institutions (LDP-HEIs) in Southeast Asia was endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education through a Memorandum from the Office of the Chairperson dated 08 February 2024. Dr. Picardal is expected to present his REAP and complete the program in July this year.