The Southeast Asia Rural Social Leadership Institute, or SEARSOLIN, is one of the outreach units of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. It is an international training center devoted to the formation of proficient leaders who are committed to working for the causes of poverty alleviation and total human growth within the perspective of Asia, Africa and the Pacificís diverse cultural and religious practices. SEARSOLIN aims to encourage reverence for human dignity, an understanding and respect for different religious beliefs, fair distribution of wealth and treating the Earthís bounty with care and reverence.

SEARSOLIN caters to the developing nations of the South, or the Third World. Because it is located in the Orient, it brings together the rich cultural and religious customs of the East. The instituteís trainees mainly come from the three sub-regions of Asia: the South, Southeast, and East Asia. It also welcomes participants from the African continent and the Pacific Islands. SEARSOLINís concerns concentrate on rural development matters that include rural poverty mitigation as challenged by food security. SEARSOLIN also strives to follow the last paragraph of the XU mission statement, which is dedicated to the formation of leaders with conscience, competence, and commitment; leaders with an apparent vision and the social skills needed for the development tasks ahead. SEARSOLIN is not only a training hub with a time-tested program; it is also an ongoing fellowship venue among development workers who hail from different countries of Asia and the developing world.

The training programs concentrate towards the understanding of poverty, the progression that leads or enables it, and the adoption of the skills needed to lessen it. With SEARSOLIN, the poor or marginalized sector is always top priority as recipients for their programs.

The College of Agriculture of Xavier University was founded in 1953 by Fr. William F. Masterson, S.J. Eleven years after, SEARSOLIN commenced with full support from MISEROR, Germany. Since then, it has trained thousands of rural and social development leaders from various parts of Asia, the Pacific and Africa.

The SEARSOLIN program is integrated as it zeroes in on the importance of holistically training an individual in the hopes of molding him to become a person of service to others. The program achieves this through the combination of value courses and social sciences, as well as the application of practical skills and proper management. SEARSOLIN focuses on the mind, the heart, and the hands. The pedagogy is more on application than being strictly academic. One of the unique experiences a person can get from SEARSOLIN is the opportunity to interact with international members during the community live-in training that usually lasts for months. This is a good opportunity for developing an individualís social and management skills and values; something that SEARSOLIN always strives to achieve.

-by Mark Anthony Daposala and Maia Fortich-Poblete-

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