US to fund more than 2,000 Filipino exchange students in the next decade

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
US to fund more than 2,000 Filipino exchange students in the next decade
US President Joe Biden meets with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City on September 22, 2022.
AFP / Mandel Ngan

MANILA, Philippines — The United States government has committed to funding more exchange program opportunities for over 2,000 Filipinos in the next 10 years, the White House announced Tuesday. 

"The U.S. government is on track to provide $70 million to support more than 2,000 exchange participants between the Philippines and the United States over the next ten years," a fact sheet released by the White House early Tuesday stated.

After a meeting between President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and US President Joe Biden to strengthen the two countries’ diplomatic ties, the US government announced the expansion of several of its exchange programs for students and young professionals and planned investments in higher education in the Philippines.

Marking the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in the Philippines — the longest-running in the world — the White House said that it will mark the milestone by "expanding US-Philippine exchange programs and strengthening alumni networks among the thousands of Filipinos who have benefited from these programs."

Among the fellowship and scholarship opportunities that will benefit from the expansion are the Fulbright program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, the Philippines Youth Leadership Program, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, and other bilateral exchange programs with the Philippines. 

"This represents one of the US government’s largest long-term people-to-people commitments globally," the White House said.

Both governments are also eyeing to establish the Philippines-US Friendship Fellowship, which will provide Filipino students and young professionals with opportunities to pursue further schooling in the United States.

The renewed ties come after a cooling of relations during the Duterte administration, which had been at times openly hostile to Washington.

Higher education investment

The White House also announced that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will channel around $30 million to fund higher education partnerships with universities in the Philippines to "expand their innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce development capabilities, pending availability of funds."

The funding will go towards supporting "universities’ curriculum development, faculty training, higher education policy and management, research, and community engagement," the statement from the White House read.

From 2012 to 2017, USAID focused on supporting the research and delivery of education services in disciplines related to science, technology and innovation — sectors that it deems to be "high-growth" and "high value-added" in the Philippines.

Marcos Jr. left for an official four-day visit to Washington DC on Sunday where he discussed with Biden the expansion of economic partnerships between the Philippines and the US, among other concerns.  

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