Agriculture's global reach
By Jennifer Doup
more than 150 universities and 50 nations attended the 2001
Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture
(GCHERA) conference in San Francisco in July.
Purdue and the College
of Agriculture have joined nearly 400 universities and research
institutions in 136 countries to form the Global
Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA).
The consortium is comprised of leaders from agricultural higher
education and research institutions.
"The global shift toward market-driven economics
has enormous implications for higher education in agriculture throughout
the world," says Purdue
President Martin C. Jischke, who is also the founding president
of the consortium. "The mission of the consortium is to foster
global cooperation in agricultural research and education in order
that member institutions can better serve human needs for food
security and a sustainable environment."
When Jischke left Iowa State University in August
2000 to become Purdue's president, the secretariat for GCHERA moved
from Iowa State to Purdue's International
Programs in Agriculture (IPIA). IPIA helped prepare for the
2001 Global Conference in San Francisco and arranged for university
presidents, researchers, deans and educators from 50 nations and
more than 150 universities to take part in the event.
Participants traveled from as far away as Ukraine,
France, China, India, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Honduras and Australia, as well as from the United States. The
conference focused on agricultural research, life sciences and
information technology, the changing nature of food systems, agricultural
curricula for the 21st century and organizing the university of
David Sammons, associate
dean of Purdue Agriculture and IPIA director, says the information shared at
the conference helped agricultural leaders learn to better position their institutions
to serve the needs of local agriculture and provide for food security in a
"GCHERA is a unique organization that benefits
many people," says Sammons. "Farmers, students, industries
and the university all gain important information about sustainable
agriculture from this global relationship. It takes effective leadership
from these groups to learn how to feed the large populations of
our world without damaging our environment."
Jischke stepped down as GCHERA president at the conference,
and Dmytro Melnychuk, rector of the National Agricultural University
in Kiev, Ukraine, was named the new president of the consortium.
The change in leadership also means that secretariat responsibilities
transferred from Purdue to the university in Ukraine, since the
consortium president's university carries out those duties. The
next conference will be held in 2003 in Ukraine.
GCHERA was established in 1998 to work on food security
issues and environmental problems challenging the world. The first
GCHERA meeting was held July 1999 in Amsterdam with more than 145