MANILA, 20 September 2017 – To mark ASEAN’s 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Canada dialogue partner relations, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced on 6 August that Canada will support a new scholarship program for ASEAN. This initiative will provide $10 million over five years for post-secondary students and mid-career professionals from Southeast Asia to access world-class education in Canada. The minister made the announcement at the Canada-ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference in Manila, Philippines.

ASEAN and Canada is working closely to bring the benefits of economic development to the poorest and most marginalized.

Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh said that “this brand new ASEAN scholarship scheme with support from Canada is a very timely initiative as we exert efforts to promote quality higher education and human capital development, which are key to ASEAN growth and priorities in the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020. This initiative also provides opportunities for our ASEAN universities to network with Canadian institutions, thus allowing technology transfer, especially in the area of quality assurance in higher education.”

The Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development initiative will provide individuals from ASEAN member states, especially women, the opportunity to apply for short-term studies or research in Canada. Scholarships will be awarded in fields that contribute to ASEAN’s efforts to narrow the development gap and reduce poverty in Southeast Asia, such as climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy, public financial management, and sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.

“Canada welcomes with open arms students from ASEAN. Providing educational exchanges to these promising young people will empower them and ensure they can be real agents of social and economic change in their communities and countries. Their contributions to Canadian classrooms will also enrich the experience of their peers and are a vital part of Canada’s multicultural society,” said Chrystia Freeland.

“As chair of ASEAN and country coordinator for ASEAN-Canada dialogue relations, the Philippines applauds Canada’s response to the region’s interest in deepening our people-to-people engagement through dedicated scholarships for citizens of ASEAN members. These learning opportunities advance the ASEAN-Canada partnership for a people-centered, people-oriented regional community,” said Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.

In 2014, almost 12,000 students from ASEAN were enrolled in Canada, representing a strong and growing interest in Canada’s educational institutions.