PHL Ambassador meets with scholars and Filipino students association in Auckland, New Zealand
People-to-people interaction and increasingly strong educational linkages between the Philippines and New Zealand took centre stage when Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia met with the officers and members of the Filipino Students Association and the Filipino scholars at the Philippine Consulate General in Auckland on 24 July 2014. Several students pursuing various courses in the university and post graduate levels shared their respective academic fields of study and learning experiences at the Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology. Present were the New Zealand ASEAN Scholars 2014 and 2013 who are taking up Master degrees in Energy, International Business, Urban Planning, Engineering Studies, Public Policy and Development Studies, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Media, Film and Television)and Postgraduate Certificate in Geothermal Energy Technology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand ASEAN Scholars 2013 studying Master of International Tourism Management and Master of Science at Auckland University of Technology, the Philippines’ Energy Development Corporation Scholars pursuing a doctoral degree in Engineering Science, Master degrees in Engineering, Master of Science in Geology, Master of Energy and Postgraduate Diploma in Geology, Postgraduate Diploma in Geothermal Technology at the University of Auckland, a student working for her Masters in Speech Language Therapy Practice at the University of Auckland and Filipinos connected with the University of Auckland Business School and the University of Auckland Filipino Students Association (FSA).
A lively fellowship and enriching interaction ensued with the students who are recipients of scholarship grants expressing their appreciation to the Government of New Zealand for the valuable opportunity to enhance their knowledge and upgrade their skills in their respective areas of study and their agencies, institutions and companies in the Philippines for allowing them to avail of the scholarship grants. They also shared with Ambassador Benavidez their meaningful experiences from the time they arrived in New Zealand and during their continuing educational journey in the educational institutions where they are pursuing their respective university, postgraduate diplomas and master’s degrees. The Filipino students continue to maximize their learning experiences, do well in their research and studies, foster closer interaction with their fellow students, professors and members of the academe in the university and value the friendships they made with New Zealanders, Filipinos and other communities. Ambassador Benavidez said that the Filipino students, some of whom are children of Filipino migrant families in New Zealand and others who come from different agencies and institutions from the Philippines possess impressive credentials and very good academic record continue to bring pride and honour to the Philippines and the Filipino people. Ambassador Benavidez exhorted them to excel in their academic journey, represent the Philippines as home of world-class talents and project the positive image and favourable reputation of the Filipino people in New Zealand and wherever they may be. She said that “based on feedback from their educational institutions, it is heartening to know that the Filipino students are doing well and are building up an excellent reputation and record of outstanding academic performance and credentials”.
Ambassador Benavidez and Honorary Consul General Garcia thanked Ms. Gay Marie Francisco, primary point of contact to the Filipino Scholars group and Ms. Noelle Dumo, current president of the FSA and all FSA officers present for their invaluable assistance in making the event possible. The Ambassador also thanked the students for taking time out of their busy schedule to have an enjoyable and enlightening fellowship. This promoted greater understanding and sharing of insights and experiences as they focused on their educational journey and at the same time become ambassadors of goodwill projecting the richness of talents and creativity of the Filipino people through their active involvement and participation in the multicultural events of their universities and their excellent academic performance in their respective fields of study.