H.E. Pehin Abu Bakar Apong, Minister of Education of Brunei Darussalam, and concurrently President of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Council, visited BIOTROP on 2 July 2012. The visit was part of his tour of duty to the various SEAMEO centres.
In his remarks, the SEAMEC President commended BIOTROP for its accomplishments in research, training, and publications, including the development in its infrastructures.
“I am proud to note that this centre received a formal recognition by the National Commission of Accreditation for Research and Development of Indonesia and very recently has received the renewal of its quality management systems ISO certification,” said H.E. Pehin Abu Bakar. “These are testaments to the centre’s capability to carry out quality management of its research and development activities to the required national and international standards,” he added.
He also expressed his happiness for the Centre’s scientific publication, BIOTROPIA, for being indexed now by Scopus, Google Scholar and the Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ) making BIOTROP’s research findings and those of its partner-institutions more accessible to a larger audience.
As SEAMEC President, he emphasized the need for SEAMEO centers to always learn from each other even though they vary in expertise; explore opportunities for being financially self-sustaining; and unceasingly try to raise the bar of ‘quality’ even higher.
“Truly, the spirit and principle of ‘SEAMEO First’ would be my key message as I go around visiting the 11 SEAMEO Member Countries, advocating SEAMEO, its goals and its work,” H.E. Pehin Abu Bakar stressed as he concluded his remarks.
In presenting the Centre’s accomplishments during FY 2011-2012 and targets for FY 2012-2013 under its 9th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017), BIOTROP Director Dr. Bambang Purwantara expressed his ardent hope to His Excellency for Brunei Darussalam, especially through the Ministry of Education, to be a potent partner in accomplishing the Centre’s vision and mission in the next 5 years.
“We look forward to seeing more Brunei nationals participating in our research, training and information exchange activities toward creating a more sustainable tropical environment in Brunei Darussalam,” Dr. Purwantara said.
The visit was highlighted by an exhibition of BIOTROP’s research, training, and community development outputs and publications. To commemorate his visit to BIOTROP, His Excellency planted a Velvet Apple or locally known as Bisbul (Diospyros blancoi) tree alongside the trees planted by other ministers who have previously visited the Centre. The tree was chosen because it is considered an endangered species of high economic value in Indonesia.
During the visit, H.E. Pehin Abu Bakar was accompanied by Dato Mahmud Hj Saidin, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Witaya Jiradechakul, SEAMEO Secretariat Director and Prof. Dr. Khairil Anwar Notodiputro, Head Office of Research and Development, Ministry of National Education of Indonesia.
Other than BIOTROP, the SEAMEC President and his party also visited the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam, SEAMEO RECFON, and SEAMEO QITEP in Mathematics and attended the East Asia Summit Education Ministerial Meeting (EAS-EMM) at Yogyakarta while in Indonesia (TK, YK).