BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: As one of the many initiatives taken on by TOTAL’s local affiliate, Total E&P Deep Offshore Borneo B V (TEPDOB), five bright Bruneian minds yesterday became the first proud batch to receive scholarships with the international energy and also oil and gas firm in an event that no doubt marks a historical move towards strengthening relations, Borneo Bulletin reported
Scheduled to study in France under the Total Education Scholarship Scheme where TOTAL’s head office is located and fresh from completing their ‘A Levels, the students will be given a six to seven year studying opportunity to undergo their undergraduate studies at top universities in the European nation where they will also continue their postgraduate studies and eventually offered an international working experience.
In partnership with the Commercial Area Joint Venture, the Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office and supported by Petroleum BRUNEI, the three young men and two young women signed their respective Memorandum of Understanding’s witnessed by their proud parents as well as Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar in a ceremony that was held at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.
On the sidelines of the event, the minister shared that the scholarship scheme resulted from a meeting with TOTAL’s Asia-Pacific senior management earlier in the year where, it was made to understand, a young Bruneian whom is under another local prestigious scholarship invited to the gathering had impressed TOTAL with his ability to adapt to the French culture and the adoption of the French language, which is needed when studying in the said country. “There are a lot of young, talented Bruneians who can do well internationally and I think we have proven this and there is no reason that we cannot prove it with the new scholars,” expressed the minister.
Conveying his gratitude to TOTAL for the unprecedented opportunity for the young Bruneians who will one day return to the Abode of Peace and contribute their international standard skills, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin said of TEPDOB General Manager, Mr Yves Grosjean, as being, “Very supportive of this right from the start and we are, in fact, very pleased,” with this form of Corporate Social Responsibility programme undertaken by TOTAL.
“They are doing a lot to develop young Bruneians to the level that will be recognised internationally,” he further stated and added that, “They have been a very good supporter to our oil and gas industry and a very key player in our oil and gas sector.” For TOTAL, who made its mark in Brunei sometime within the mid-80’s, the scholarship is symbolic of deepening relations not just between governments but also between people from both nations. “As a company, to have closer ties with the countries where we work” is what is being aimed for,” said Mr Grosjean.
“What better ties can you have than providing scholarships to students who come to France and understand better our culture and will, hopefully, remain our friends for life? It is about building long-term relationships and it is also about attracting young bright people to our industry and our company.” To date, TOTAL has scholarship programmes with an approximate 40 countries and the start of this knowledge-sharing journey, it is hoped, “Will not be the last.” The students who have been chosen include Muhd Aizat Hj Hamidun, Heather Lim Shin Bey, Chua Yi Sern, Chantelle Phung Yee Shan and Mohammad Abdul Malik @ Abdul Hafiz bin Mahyuddin.