Nagoya University conducts 9th Entrance Ceremony at Philippine campus; welcomes four new Filipino transnational doctoral students

On 9 October 2023, the Nagoya University (NU) of Nagoya, Japan conducted the 9th Entrance Ceremony for its hybrid doctoral program under the NU Transnational Doctoral Programs for Leading Professionals in Asian Countries through its satellite campus in the Philippines.  The ceremony welcomed four Filipino doctoral students admitted at the NU Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences (GSBS) and the NU Graduate School of International Development (GSID).  The activity was held at the auditorium of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) located at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), College, Laguna, in Southern Luzon, Philippines.

In his welcome message, Dr. Naoshi Sugiyama, President of NU, emphasized important keywords that young and ambitious researchers should remember:  free and vibrant, courageous and intellectual. He said that the transnational doctoral program has been established to provide doctoral degrees to future leaders in Asia and thanked the partner agencies and institutions for providing support. He warmly welcomed the new students and encouraged them to never give up even in the face of failure as NU is always ready to assist them in every challenge they face.
    President Naoshi Sugiyama        Chancellor Jose V. Camacho Jr.         Director Shigehiro Matsuda

On the other hand, UPLB Chancellor Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., welcomed the new students who are scholars of both NU and partner agencies; the alumni; professors and officials of NU and UPLB, as well as representatives of national agencies present at the ceremony.  He noted with vigor that “the transnational program is indeed flourishing, a representative of the very strong partnership and collaboration between UPLB and NU.”  He expressed pride on being instrumental in the hosting of the NU satellite campus in UPLB and on being part of what it is today.  He urged the new students to embrace the very challenging, unique and yet fulfilling academic program with the aim of levelling up their professional careers.

n his message, Mr. Shigehiro Matsuda, Director of Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) of the Embassy of Japan in Manila, expressed that year after year, the partnership of NU and UPLB has exemplified unwavering dedication to excellence, and that the continuous growth of the program displayed the power of the human spirit and innovation that the two universities have cultivated.  He welcomed and congratulated the new students with the hope that just like the alumni, they will become trailblazers in their respective fields.

     Dr. Nur Azura binti Adam                         Dr. Josette Biyo                              Dr. Neil Tan-Gana

In her inspirational message, Dr. Nur Azura binti Adam, Deputy Director for Programs of SEARCA, shared that doing a PhD is not smooth sailing all the time. She emphasized that work is work, and advised the new students to be persistent, courageous and accept the fact that doing doctoral studies is different from what you do at work. She thanked NU for the partnership to enable excellent scholars from Cambodia and the Philippines pursue and complete their doctoral degrees.

Dr. Josette Biyo, Director of the Science Education Institute (SEI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippines, conveyed her appreciation to the partnership with NU, one of the most prestigious universities in Japan,  and that the Science Education Institute of DOST is mandated to increase the number of scientists , engineers and researchers in the Philippines in support of national development programs. She noted that the transnational doctoral programs offered in hybrid mode offered by NU is a very welcome development.  She explained that every scholarship comes with a huge expectation and urged the new students to “remember that the true measure of your success as a science professional is how you positively transform people’s lives and communities.”

Dr. Neil Tan-Gana, Vice President of the NU Alumni-Philippines Branch and Associate Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of the Philippines College of Medicine, and President of the Philippine Association of Japanese Government Scholars (PHILAJAMES), stressed that at NU, the students are to experience mastery and dedication combined with vigor and best practices from the excellent faculty mentors.  He shared that the NUAL-PH will always be at their side to support them and that as destined courageous individuals, “the following principles must guide them amidst fear, doubt, and difficult moments:  righteousness, loyalty, respect, honesty, courage,  consistency and a depth of character to follow through no matter how tired or overwhelmed” with the rigors of the program.

        Director Akira Yamauchi             Dr. Kim Nyka Perdiguerra

Dr. Akira Yamauchi, Professor and Director of the NU Asian Satellite Campuses Institute (NUASCI) and the NUASC-Philipppines, presented updates of students and alumni of the NU Transnational Doctoral Programs.  He reported that as at present, there are a total of nine alumni from 2019 to 2022;  nine ongoing students from 2016 to 2022, and four new doctoral students admitted in two Graduate Schools, namely:  GSBS (2) and GSID (2) from April 2023 to October 2023.  He also reported that starting October 2024, two Graduate Schools will be joining the satellite campus in the Philippines, namely:  Graduate School of Engineering (initially for civil engineering) and Graduate School of Environmental Studies.

Dr. Kim Nyka C. Perdiguerra, a NUASCI alumna of GSBS, shared the latest update on her collaborative research project with NU after graduation which was an offshoot of her doctoral research and which is implemented in partnership with her mentors, Dr. Shiro Mitsuya of NU and Dr. Pompe Sta. Cruz of UPLB.  The project titled, “Assistance in plant cultivation and soil analysis in UPLB and in rice farms in Bicol Region, Philippines” analyzes the intricate interactions between genotype, environment, and management practices, and aims to develop recommendations and effective strategies for mitigating salinity stress in rice production. The project builds upon the pilot experiments conducted during the 2022 dry season and furthering the research during the 2023 wet season.

The two new students who will pursue the 3-year doctoral program at the NU GSBS are Ms. Karen Ardez, University Researcher of the UPLB National Crop Protection Center (NCPC);  and Mr. Jimmy Pogosa, Intructor at the Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay, Leyte, Central Visayas, Philippines.  The other two new students who will pursue the 3-year doctoral program at the NU GSID are Mr. Mark Angelo Abinsay, Assistant Professor, Teaching Corps of the Philippine Department of National Defense; and Mr. Merwin Salazar, Executive Director of the Senate Economic Planning Office, Senate of the Republic of the Philippines, Manila.  The students presented their expectations and commitments to complete their doctoral studies within the limited period stipulated in their scholarships.

      Ms. Karen Ardez                   Mr. Jimmy Pogosa                 Mr. Mark Angelo Abinsay              Mr. Merwin Salazar

The new students were introduced by their respective deans, namely:  Dr. Mikio Nakazono, dean of GSBS; and Dr. Aya Okada, dean of GSID.

       Dean Miko Nakaono              Dean Aya Okada

In closing, Director Yamauchi congratulated the four new students and thanked them for choosing NU for their programs.  He assured the students that NU will provide the best quality education for their studies.

(article contributed by E. C. Cedicol)