by Dr. John Octavious S. Palina

Dr. John Octavious S. Palina, the Vice President for Administration and concurrent External Affairs Officer of SMU presented a British Council-sponsored research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), Nevada in the International IJAS Conference for Academic Disciplines last March 18 – 22, 2013.  His paper is entitled “How can Agricultural Value Chain Development Empower Women in Developing Countries:  Evidence from Nigeria and the Philippines.”  The study, which was co-authored with Dr. Murtala S. Sagagi from Bayero University of Kano, Nigeria, is an offshoot of a 3-year grant from the British Council of the United Kingdom through the Development Partnership in Higher Education (DelPHE) project. 

IJAS, or the International Journal of Arts & Sciences takes place annually in several cities across Europe and North America.  It aims to provide opportunities for academics from a range of disciplines and countries to share their research both through the conference podium and IJAS’ double-blind refereed publications.  It also provides opportunities for academics to establish contact with professionals in other countries and institutions.  Hence, Dr. Palina, as External Affairs Officer, was able to forge linkages with educational institutions from countries like India, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) duly signed by the University President, Rev. Fr. Renillo H. Sta. Ana was accepted and signed by participants who have the capacity to collaborate with Saint Mary’s University.  Other participants brought the MOU back to their respective institution and endorsed it to their school’s director on linkages or external affairs officer. 

    Recently, the Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Nagpur, India, through its Director for International Linkages, sent an expanded version of the MOU for signing of Presidents from IMT and SMU.  The expanded MOU, which was already stamped and signed by both Presidents, prioritizes student and faculty exchanges and joint researches. 

The conference organizers integrated a one-day sightseeing & adventure tour to Hoover Dam and Lake Meed Cruise, Nevada and Grand Canyon South Rim Adventure in Arizona, USA.  The tours are the main way of “breaking the ice” away from the formalities of the conference hall, providing an informal setting for personal discussions & interactions with the other participants. 

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