MANILA — Canada has pledged to provide a USD10 million scholarship program for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) students and professionals in the next five years.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said this initiative aims to strengthen people to people ties between the country and ASEAN through educational exchanges.
“This program will be open to all ASEAN countries. It will equip students and mid-career professionals with a particular focus on women to provide them critical knowledge and skills to help them contribute in the fight against poverty,” Freeland said in her opening remarks during the ASEAN- Canada Ministerial Meeting held Sunday at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
“We’re excited for the prospects of this program that we will be able to welcome more ASEAN students and build on that people to people relationships,” she added.
The foreign minister further stated that Canada is interested to join the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus.
Canada likewise vowed to help the ASEAN in fighting terrorism and violent extremism as well as promote free trade within the region in line with its foreign policy goals.
“Our core goals internationally: supporting the international rules based order, fighting climate change, fighting terrorism, empowering girls and women. These are goals which are important in our partnership with ASEAN. We believe that working together we can advance these goals in a meaningful way,” Freeland said.
Canada has been an active dialogue partner of ASEAN since its first meeting in February 1977, that was later formalized in 1981 with the signing of the ASEAN-Canada Economic Cooperation Agreement (ACECA), which came into force on June 1, 1982.