1. Introduction

Facilitating regional development, cooperation and integration requires a unique set of skills which cannot be taught in school but caught through structured learning and working experience in regional cooperation settings. To build a critical mass of human resources who are capable and committed to a more prosperous and harmonious Greater Mekong Sub-region, the Mekong Institute proposes to utilize the “New Zealand’s Head of Mission Funds for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand” in the form of “New Zealand Ambassador’s Scholarships”. The aim of the scholarship program is to provide professional development opportunities for Master’s Degree Students from CLMT through a structured training program and research assignment in MI under the guidance of experienced regional and international experts. Through this scholarship program, the productivity and effectiveness of the young generation to contribute to national and regional development is enhanced.

2. Objectives

The program aims to promote regional development, cooperation and integration by:

Raising the level of competence of outstanding students of CLMT in a) core areas of GMS development and cooperation and b) research capacities
Conducting sub-regional researches in emerging issues in the Mekong countries which can serve as students’ theses and can be transformed into case studies for MI Learning Program
Providing opportunities to CLMT students to conduct their thesis research under a structured program and under the guidance of experienced mentors
Establishing and strengthening collaboration among Universities in the GMS by providing a platform for information exchange and through the network built by the students

3. Program Structures

Selected CLMT scholars will be lodged in MI residential facility during some parts of the program and will have full access to its learning resources and information database, as well as the library at Khon Kaen University. They will first receive training on context-specific research methodology and be familiarized with emerging development issues in the GMS at MI. Under joint supervision and guidance of home-country and MI-designated advisors, they will be able to conduct research in their selected field of interest. Preference will be given to research proposals with sub-regional focus (e.g. comparative studies between countries) and region-wide implications. All research findings will be subsequently presented in the annual Research Roundtable where the students’ home advisors and other GMS subject matter experts will be invited to provide feedback and comments.

The proposed MI – NZ Ambassador’s Scholarship Program (MINZAS) is designed for 3 cycles, each cycle lasting for one year. The activities each year are organized in four phases as follows:

Phase 1 :
Training Course on GMS and ASEAN Cooperation and Integration and Regional Research Development and Methodology in Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand (Month 1-2)

The training course will be organized and conducted in Mekong Institute, Thailand. The scholars will engage in an interactive learning environment to understand the analytical methods used to convert data into information for decision-making. Upon completion of the training, they will be able to describe the differences between quantitative and qualitative research and apply several statistical techniques used in research. They are also expected to improve and finalize the research proposal they prepared prior to acceptance to the Program.

Before the end of the training program, each scholar will be assigned a mentor. The mentors will be responsible for supervising the research and give technical advice and inputs to the students in close collaboration with the student’s home-country advisor.

Phase 2 Implementation of Sub-regional Research in respective countries (Month 3-7)

The scholars will implement the research based on the proposal approved during the one-month stay in MI. This entails individual work with technical advice and feedback from assigned research advisors/mentors. Each scholar will receive a research grant to cover his/her field expenses.

Toward the end of this phase, the scholars will be required to submit a written draft of preliminary findings and receive online feedback and recommendations from fellow scholars and research advisers (home country and MI-designated mentor). During this time, the students are expected to have completed primary (field survey) and secondary data collection, data processing and analysis, and a written draft of the thesis. The comments and feedback received will be incorporated during the succeeding 3 months and the final thesis must be ready before the Roundtable Meeting.

Phase 3 Research Roundtable Meeting in Khon Kaen, Thailand (Month 8)
The CLMT scholars will present the research results of sub-regional researches to invited subject matter experts and home-country advisors, and receive feedback. This research roundtable meeting will also provide an opportunity for the scholars to share their research implementation experiences and lessons learned among themselves and with their advisors and experts.
Phase 4 Publication and Dissemination ( Month 9 – 12)
The scholars need to address the comments received and incorporate those changes in the final thesis to be submitted to their respective universities. Short version of their reports can be published as MI working paper series to be disseminated widely and/or be used as case studies in MI learning programs.

4. Target Participants

The NZASP is open to nationals of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand who are pursuing a Master’s Degree (thesis option) and have completed all the coursework required before conducting thesis work. The applicant’s research interest should fall under MI’s there thematic area: 1) Rural Development for Sustainable Livelihood, 2) Trade and Investment Facilitation, and 3) Human Migration. A research proposal with sub-regional focus and GMS-wide implications will be given priority during the selection process and is therefore highly encouraged.

The scholarship scheme is announced widely through MI Coordinating Agents, MI Research Advisory Committee, GMS Academic and Research Network, and MI alumni network. The announcement will state clearly the program structure, selection criteria, desirable research areas, and application procedures.

5. Selection Criteria

The applicants should meet the following selection criteria:
• Has completed all the course requirements for a Master’s degree
• Intellectual capacity as evidenced by good scholastic records (provide transcript of records)
• A well-written research proposal which is in line with MI thematic areas (Rural Development for Sustainable Livelihood, Trade and Investment Facilitation, and Human Migration). The research proposal format and guidelines is provided in Annex 1.
• Demonstrated interest and potential to play influential/leading role in GMS and ASEAN economic cooperation and integration

6. Application Procedures

Step 1:
Interested students from CLMT countries make an application to Mekong Institute (the application form and the recommendation form are attached as Annex 2).
Step 2:
The Mekong Institute screens the applicants using the selection criteria above and submits the names of selected applicants to the NZ Ambassador for approval. Each training cycle will have 12 scholars (three from each country).
Step 3:
NZ Ambassador approve the selection and issue a congratulatory letter to each selected scholar.
Step 4:
Processing of documents for travel to Thailand
Step 5:
Arrival at Mekong Institute where the scholars will be provided a formal orientation.

7. Contact

Mr.Seang Sopheak
Program Facilitator
Mekong Institute
123 Khon Kaen University, Muang, Khon Kaen 40002 THAILAND

Tel: +66 4320 2411-2 Ext 510 Fax: +66 4334 3131
Email: sopheak@mekonginstitute.org

Ms.Salita Seedokmai
Program Facilitator
Mekong Institute
123 Khon Kaen University, Muang, Khon Kaen 40002 THAILAND

Tel: +66 4320 2411-2 Ext 509 Fax: +66 4334 3131
Email: salita@mekonginstitute.org

Website: www.mekonginstitute.org

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