2nd AFoCO Colloquium: Efforts to Advance the Scholarship Program and Overcome Challenges

The 2nd AFoCO Colloquium, “Advancing the Landmark Scholarship Program and Overcoming Challenges,” was held on May 27, 2024, at the AFoCO Secretariat. This event, organized by the Capacity-building and Evaluation Team, aimed to foster collaborative learning and address key challenges faced by scholarship students.

(Photo) Participants of the 2nd AFoCO Colloquium: AFoCO Staffs, Fellowship Officials, and Landmark Scholarship Students

Background and Objectives

AFoCO is dedicated to strengthening forest protection and management capacities in the Asian region. The Landmark Scholarship Program is one of its pivotal initiatives, supporting students from member countries in their forestry-related studies and research. However, these students often face hurdles such as language barriers, cultural differences, and financial constraints.

To address these issues, the 2nd AFoCO Colloquium provided a platform for students to present their research, receive feedback, and share experiences. The event aimed to improve academic performance, discuss future program strategies, and tackle cultural and personal challenges.

(Photo) Listening to Presentations and Discussions by Participants (Left: AFoCO Fellowship Officials, Right: Scholarship Students)

Program Content

Eight (8) scholarship students from Indonesia, the Philippines, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand participated in the colloquium, presenting their ongoing research. These presentations facilitated constructive feedback and in-depth discussions, enhancing the quality of their work through peer reviews and expert guidance.

Presentation by Mr. Wencelito Hintural from the Philippines
Presentation by Mr. Edward F. Dumrique from the Philippines

International Collaboration and Networking

The colloquium underscored the importance of establishing an alumni network grouped by research fields. This approach fosters synergy, encourages collaboration on new projects, and allows experienced alumni to mentor newer graduates. The creation of a shared knowledge platform was also recommended to enhance this network.

Additionally, featuring scholarship students’ research at the AFoCO exhibition booth at the upcoming IUFRO 2024 was proposed. This exposure would raise awareness of the scholarship program, promote students’ research, and foster collaboration with global researchers.

Presentation by Mr. Nguyen Duy Vuong from Viet Nam
Presentation by Ms. Khaing Hsu Wai from Myanmar

Financial Support and Well-being

A recurring theme throughout the colloquium was the need for increased financial support for scholarship students. An increase in the monthly living allowance was deemed necessary to meet the rising living costs in Seoul, alleviating financial stress and improving students’ overall academic performance and well-being. Moreover, financial support for field data collection and participation in international conferences was requested to ensure students have the resources they need to succeed.

Presentation by Ms. Chulalak Kaewsongsi from Thailand
Presentation by Mr. Teav Tepkosal from Cambodia

Looking Forward: Implementation and Future Strategies

To address these recommendations, several follow-up actions were proposed. Enhancing financial support by adjusting the scholarship amount to reflect the rising living costs and providing support for field data collection are top priorities. Establishing a structured alumni network and developing pre-departure training programs focusing on language skills and cultural knowledge will better prepare scholars for their studies in Korea. Furthermore, supporting students’ attendance at conferences by covering related costs will be explored to facilitate their academic and professional development.

Presentation by Ms. Pinky Dayandante from the Philippines
Presentation by Ms. Tri Sayektiningsih from Indonesia


The 2nd AFoCO Colloquium was a significant step towards strengthening the Landmark Scholarship Program. By addressing the challenges and recommendations highlighted by the students, AFoCO aims to enhance the overall effectiveness of the program, ensuring its continued success and positive impact on forest conservation efforts across member countries. The event underscored the importance of international collaboration, advanced technologies, and robust support systems in fostering the next generation of forestry experts.

Group Photo of Eight Landmark Scholarship Students (from left: Mr. Nguyen Duy Vuong, Mr. Teav Tepkosal, Ms. Khaing Hsu Wai, Ms. Chulalak Kaewsongsi, Ms. Tri Sayektiningsih, Ms. Pinky Dayandante, Mr. Edward F. Dumrique, and Mr. Wencelito Hintural)

Submitted by Kiwon Kim, Assistant Program Officer, Capacity-Building & Evaluation Team

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