The leaders from various Ethiopia's rising agricultural universities will study U.S. university practices and build collaborative bonds with American counterparts.
The Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) has earned a reputation worldwide as a leader in agriculture, whether it's food safety, meat sciences, improving the production of various crops or educating future agricultural experts and communicators.
The reputation will grow next week as the college and the Office of International Affairs host seven scholars from various universities in Ethiopia during their visit to the United States as part of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The scholars will visit Texas Tech Sunday through Tuesday (July 16-18).
"Ethiopia is one of America's key relationships, given its stabilizing role in East Africa, its support in our global fight against terrorism and its rapid economic growth," said Ambassador Tibor Nagy, vice provost for International Affairs. "The relationship will only become more important in the future, so the U.S. government is keen to support establishing relationships between Ethiopia's national universities and ideal U.S. partners. Agriculture is one of Ethiopia's national development priorities, and CASNR's programs are a perfect complement to Ethiopia's pursuits."
The IVLP builds relationships with countries around the world by connecting emerging foreign leaders with rising leaders in the U.S. through short-term exchange program visits. Foreign visitors meet with their U.S. counterparts, visit both public and private sector organizations related to their fields of expertise and participate in cultural and social activities.
Texas Tech is one of three universities in the United States, along with Purdue University and the University of California, Davis, that the Ethiopian delegation will visit during its tour through the U.S., which began July 10 and will end on Tuesday.
Nagy said the project initially was proposed by Montegue Demment, vice president for international programs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Nagy and Demment proposed the idea upon a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and received strong support from the U.S. Ambassador, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. The prestigious Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., is the U.S. government's programming agent for the delegation's U.S. visit.
"I am delighted that, with this group visiting only three U.S. universities, the U.S. government included Texas Tech with Purdue and UC Davis," Nagy said. "And as with the Mandela Fellows, I believe Texas Tech's program will shine and be another event to enhance our global reputation."
During their visit to the U.S., the scholars will explore how American universities develop strategic plans for international collaborations in the areas of agriculture and food safety and provide an overview of strategies for initiating, managing and sustaining those partnerships.
They also will examine the methods employed by U.S. agricultural colleges to increase their capacity for food safety and agricultural research and will study the best practices for integrating national policies with research objectives and food safety trends, while studying the role of American land-grant universities in shaping academic and practical curriculum to meet stakeholder needs.
"Global agriculture is an aspect of the mission of CASNR critical for our future," Dean Steven Fraze said. "Activities such as the International Affairs visit with the seven deans and faculty from various universities in Ethiopia allows for networking and collaboration efforts for future research, education and service for the benefit of all."
The seven Ethiopian scholars visiting Texas Tech are:
- Asmamaw Abtew, assistant professor, Department of Natural Resources Management and Coordinator of Climate Change Research Centre, University of Gondar
- Edo Beressa Bedasso, vice dean, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Ambo University
- Adugna Eneyew Bekelle, dean, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma University
- Kidane Giday Gebremedhin, dean, College of Dryland Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mekelle University
- Dessalegn Molla Ketema, assistant professor of rural development, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Bahir Dar University
- Tarekegn Yoseph Samago, dean, College of Agriculture, Hawassa University
- Kibebew Kibret Tsehai, dean, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Haramaya University.
"It's a great honor to have been chosen as one of only three American universities to host these academic leaders from major Ethiopian universities," said Sukant Misra, associate vice provost for international programs and a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. "The real credit goes to our faculty, staff and students. Our faculty and staff have had several substantive collaborations with Ethiopian universities over the last 10 years. Our students have studied abroad in Ethiopia. Texas Tech is known in Ethiopia's governmental and academic environments as an institution of high caliber people and as an institution that delivers."