ISUFST, PNRU strengthen collaboration, internationalization engagement via MOU

ILOILO CITY – In another historic event held Wednesday, July 19, the Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) and Phranakhon Rajabhat University (PNRU) of Thailand solidified their commitment to academic collaboration and international engagement through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The ceremony occurred at the ISUFST Tiwi Campus Board Room in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

The MOU signing marks a significant milestone for both institutions as they embark on a journey of partnership and knowledge-sharing. The event commenced with preliminary features of ISUFST and PNRU videos, followed by the singing of the national anthems of both countries. Dr. Herman M. Lagon, Director of the Office of International Affairs and Linkages at ISUFST, delivered the opening remarks, introducing the participants and providing an overview of the MOU and its objectives.

Representatives from ISUFST and PNRU then signed the MOU and exchanged copies to symbolize their commitment to collaboration. A photo session captured the momentous occasion, showcasing the enthusiasm and camaraderie between the two institutions.

Dr. Nordy D. Siason, Jr., President of ISUFST, expressed his gratitude for the partnership, stating, “On behalf of the Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to Phranakhon Rajabhat University for partnering with us. This collaboration presents a valuable opportunity for both institutions to learn from each other’s expertise and work together towards academic excellence and global engagement.”

Dr. Siason further emphasized the commitment to fostering closer ties between the two universities, saying, “We are also excited to reciprocate this partnership by committing to visit Phranakhon Rajabhat University for benchmarking purposes and explore possibilities for student and faculty exchange. We believe these collaborative initiatives will strengthen our educational programs and contribute to our student’s and faculty’s personal and professional growth.”

Asst. Prof. Dr. Anantakul Intarapadung, Director of the Institute of Research and Development at PNRU, expressed his gratitude for the warm hospitality extended by ISUFST faculty, management, and students, saying, “We would like to sincerely thank the ISUFST community for their excellent hospitality during our visit. The warm welcome and support we have received have made our stay truly memorable. We appreciate the efforts of ISUFST in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in areas such as poverty alleviation, quality education, preservation of life below water, and strengthening partnerships and linkages. We are inspired by your commitment and look forward to further collaboration.”

PNRU Deputy Director, Asst. Prof. Dr. Yongyut Khamkhong, affirmed the university’s commitment to supporting the internationalization and research initiatives of ISUFST, stating, “As representatives of Phranakhon Rajabhat University, we are committed to actively participating in the internationalization and research endeavors of ISUFST. We believe that by working together, we can enhance our research capabilities, share knowledge, and contribute to advancing our respective fields. This partnership opens up new avenues for collaboration, and we are excited to explore the possibilities.”

For his part, Dr. Herman Lagon, Director of ISUFST’s Office of International Affairs and Linkages (OIAL), emphasized the institution’s commitment to internationalization, stating, “ISUFST is fully committed to internationalization, as we believe it provides the necessary space for our school to be globally competitive and appreciate cultural diversity. This collaboration with PRNU signifies our dedication to fostering international partnerships, which will bring forth mutual benefits and contribute to the academic growth of our students and faculty.”

Dr. Joan Belga, Vice President for Academic Affairs at ISUFST, reiterated the commitment to student exchange, stating, “We are wholeheartedly committed to promoting student exchange programs between ISUFST and PNRU of Thailand. These programs will give our students valuable opportunities to expand their horizons, gain international exposure, and develop a global mindset. Through these exchanges, we aim to nurture well-rounded individuals prepared to thrive in the interconnected world.”

The MOU signing ceremony was followed by a school tour facilitated by ISUFST student ambassadors. Participants visited the Office of the President for a courtesy call. They then explored the Fisheries and Marine Science Museum, the Brackishwater Facilities, the Fisheries Laboratories, and some university offices, then took their lunch with the student tour guides and the chairpersons, director, and staff of the OIAL.

In the afternoon, the ISUFST-PNRU Research Presentation, titled “Showcasing ISUFST’s and PNRU’s Advancement in Research,” took place at the ISUFST Main Tiwi-Site Conference Room. The Research and Development Unit, Graduate Studies, and the College of Education led the event. The panel presentation showcased the research advancements of both institutions, promoting knowledge exchange and collaboration in the field of research. This covers the studies of Mr. Atthaphan Chantarakarnsakul, Mr. Dave Allan A.Tagacay, Mr. Bancha Plonguan, Mr. Cjay B. Soliven, Ms. Xylena Joy E. Ramirez, and Dr. Edmer D. Bernardo. The panelists were Dr. Intarapadung, Dr. Gabinete, and Dr. Rodel Dosano Research Chairperson of ISUFST Main Poblacion-Site.

The ISUFST delegation was warmly hosted by the ISUFST BN Campus, with College of Education Dean Sunny Gabinete overseeing the visit since Tuesday, July 18. The delegation will continue their collaborative journey by visiting Central Philippine State University (CPSU) on Thursday, July 20, as part of their ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships and foster academic collaboration.

The MOU signing, campus tour, and research presentation are the products of a series of collaborative initiatives between ISUFST, CPSU, and PNRU. These efforts aim to create a platform for academic cooperation, cultural exchange, and research advancement. To note, ISUFST and CPSU also visited PNRU last March 24 for the same purpose.

The partner universities aim to provide quality education and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this partnership, they hope to further their efforts in poverty alleviation, quality education, industry innovation and infrastructure, preservation of life below water, and strengthening partnerships and linkages.

As the ISUFST-PNRU collaboration takes flight, students like Jose Eugene Salazar, the Student Regent, are optimistic about the opportunities it brings. Salazar, one of the student ambassadors who toured the ASEAN partners, enthusiastically said, “This is a good start for us students to embrace internationalization further. We thank the school for allowing us to showcase ISUFST to our Thai counterparts.”

The signing of the MOU and the subsequent activities demonstrate the commitment of both institutions to academic excellence, research advancement, and global engagement. The partnership between ISUFST and PNRU holds great promise for the development of students, faculty, and the communities they serve. (Text by Jhomar Baladhay; Photos by Sir Jhomar Baladhay, Sir Bryan Sumagaysay, Sir Marvin Asong, Inst. Patrick Lance Nacion, Dr. Christine Pelaez, and Dr. Regie Salmeron)