Economic and social development in the GMS is dependent on capable human resources that possess the knowledge and skills to recognize and address the various challenges facing the region. Recognizing the need to address the knowledge and skill gaps in the emerging generation of GMS leaders and to cultivate new networks to contribute to regional cooperation and integration, in 2012 MI and the New Zealand Embassy, Bangkok, launched the Mekong Institute – New Zealand Ambassador's Scholarship Program (MINZAS). The program is now in its second year.
On 2-3 September, MI conducted the 2013 MINZAS Roundtable Meeting; the third program phase (of four) of the one-year MINZAS program cycle. The meeting saw the 12 scholarship recipients from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand (CLMT Countries) converge at MI headquarters to present their research findings and analysis to an assembled panel of subject matter experts, MI program staff, and academic advisors from around the region.
At the meeting, the panel dissected the scholars' presentations and findings, making a series of recommendations to each on how their theses could be enhanced and improved prior to submission.
H.E. Mr. Tony Lynch, New Zealand Ambassador to Bangkok, attended the meeting for the second straight year, sitting in on presentation and reflection sessions. In his opening address, Mr. Lynch affirmed his ongoing support for the MINZAS program and expressed his opinion that human resource development aimed at the region's youth is an essential part of the development and integration equation.
For the 12 MINZAS scholars, it was their second time in MI, after having completed a four-week research methodology training course at MI in March. The roundtable meeting thus provided an valuable opportunity for them to share field-work experiences and reestablish contact with their region-wide MINZAS fellows.
The MINZAS scholars' amended research findings will published in January under its 'Working Paper Series,' which will be distributed among GMS research institutions, universities, academic libraries, and to other development stakeholders. The MI Working Paper Series will also be available for download on the MI website.