CFAES Faculty Speak at World Bank Symposium on Higher Ed Partnerships and International Capacity-building

June 9, 2016

Two faculty members in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) were exclusively invited to participate in two separate panels at a June 7th World Bank symposium entitled "Future of Food: Brainstorming on Strengthening Collaboration between U.S. Land Grant Universities and World Bank Group". Dr. Mark Erbaugh, Director of the Office of International Programs in Agriculture, and Dr. Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources both provided their insight during the one day meeting in Washington D.C., and shared their experiences working on a number of high profile international agricultural projects that The Ohio State University has either led or been involved in recent years.

"Lang grant universities are hotbeds of innovation and are viewed as excellent vehicles for creating strong and sustainable linkages with other international higher education institutions," said Mark Erbaugh, who also serves as the Administrative Director for the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI), a major USAID-funded capacity building project in Tanzania led by Ohio State’s Office of International Programs in Agriculture, and whose chief in-country partner is the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro.

Dr. Erbaugh served on the panel entitled "Strengthening Higher Education Capacity", and discussed the critical role that land grant universities like Ohio State play in strengthening the capacities of their international partners so that they can be more effective in developing and delivering their own teaching, research, and outreach programs, as well as engaging more strategically with community stakeholders.

Dr. Lal, a soil physicist who directs Ohio State's Carbon Management and Sequestration Center (CMASC), spoke about his international research collaborations and research on the "Climate Smart Agriculture" Panel. His Center has hosted more than 150 international visiting scholars to Ohio State since 1990 along with another 150  graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from around the world. Most  of these scholars are now influential researchers and academicians in their countries in specific disciplines, and are agents of positive change in the realm on global food security, soil health, and carbon sequestraion. Based on the recommendations of COP21, there is a growing interest in the terrestrial carbon sequestration in relation to soil health in developing countries.

The meeting was convened by Dr. Juergen Voegele, Senior Director of the World Bank's Agriculture Global Practice, and held additional discussions on “Improving Food and Nutrition” and “Food Value Chains and Improving Market Access”. Other universities invited to present at the symposium included Cornell University, University of Georgia, Purdue University, Michigan State University, Tuskegee University, and the University of Illinois.