NEW ZEALAND is offering a full scholarship program with special focus on members of indigenous people (IP) and Muslim communities in Mindanao.
“This is not the first time New Zealand is offering scholarships to Filipinos. We have over a thousand scholars in the past years. However, there is a firm resolve to encourage applications from indigenous people and Bangsamoro Muslim practitioners and scholars,” Dyan M. Rodriguez, New Zealand aid manager, said during the Kapihan sa PIA at NCCC-Victoria Plaza on Friday.
The Manaaki New Zealand Scholarships is giving priority to courses that can contribute to Mindanao’s development, including good governance, peace and conflict studies, indigenous studies, climate change, agriculture, and renewable energy.
Ms. Rodriguez said there are 16 slots for masteral and doctorate degrees, with three already taken by scholars from the Bangsamoro community.
“We hardly have any representation from the indigenous community. As a tri-people of Mindanao, we encourage representation. We are providing a platform for representation and to champion inclusion and diversity,” Ms. Rodriguez said.
New Zealand Ambassador Peter Kell said in the same forum that the scholarship program will provide young Mindanaoans an opportunity to study and experience life in New Zealand.
“This is not just about studying in New Zealand but also learning how New Zealand and New Zealanders see the world. We are trying to open New Zealand to all Mindanaoans, particularly those who are from indigenous and Moro communities,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo