FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

FAO-Hungary scholarship alumni now number more than 250

With 33 young professionals concluding their two-year master’s studies in agricultural sciences here this week, alumni of the FAO-Hungary scholarship programme now number more than 250.

Young agricultural scientists from three continents came together for the graduation ceremony today at the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. The event marked the programme’s ninth consecutive year.

Every year since 2008, the FAO-Hungary scholarship programme has enabled a select group of young professionals to undertake master’s level studies in English at one of Hungary’s agricultural universities. The programme is a central element of cooperation between FAO and Hungary, which hosts the Organization’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia in Budapest. This year’s graduates hail from places as far-flung as Afghanistan, Armenia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Sudan, and Vietnam.

The new graduates were greeted and addressed first by Egri Lilla, head of unit with of Hungary’s Ministry of Agriculture, and by FAO deputy regional representative Raimund Jehle.

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development plays a crucial role in FAO’s work in Europe and Central Asia,” said Jehle. “Regional challenges related to FAO’s mandate – such as rural poverty, farm structure, development of sustainable food systems, food insecurity and trade – can be well addressed through these goals and targets.”

FAO’s work goes beyond agriculture, especially in this part of the world. Jehle pointed to the increasing challenge of malnutrition including obesity across the entire Europe and Central Asia region.

The scholars, who studied agricultural engineering, rural development, biotechnology or horticulture, spoke positively about their study experience in Hungary.

“These years made a huge difference in my life,” said Davit Alaverdyan of Armenia, who has already obtained a PhD position. “On one hand the scholarship allowed for my personal development, and on the other it has opened a long-term professional perspective.”

Krasniqi Nol from Kosovo called the scholarship “a good opportunity and starting point” for his career. “A very important moment was when I participated in the 39th Session of the European Commission on Agriculture as a facilitator,” he said. “I hope to work for FAO in the future.”

Applications for the next round of FAO-Hungary scholarships will be accepted starting in January 2017. The call for applications will be published on the FAO Regional Office website, and disseminate to news media in the target countries.

23 May 2016, Budapest