CFAES International Office Tackling Tough Issues

April 1, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- One of the oldest international offices at Ohio State University, which was recently honored as International Organization of the Year by the Columbus Council on World Affairs, tackles some of today's most pressing global issues.

Since 1955, the Office of International Programs in Agriculture within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences has been addressing food security and environment management challenges around the world. Today, its efforts are even more significant as developing countries work to stabilize food crises and as climate change reshapes agriculture and the environment.

"Food security, environmental protection, global climate change, water resource management -- these are huge global issues," said Mark Erbaugh, interim director of the Office of International Programs in Agriculture. "We have scientists working in all of these areas to address issues. From an international standpoint, this college's contributions are significant."

Through grants and contracts, the Office of International Programs in Agriculture supports international scientific discovery and learning through agricultural research, collaborative programs between CFAES faculty and international institutions, and educational outreach by supporting visiting international faculty and students.

"One of the missions of our office is to internationalize the teaching, research and outreach missions of our college," said Erbaugh. "We strive to strengthen scientific and technological capacities of countries facing development constraints."

The IPA managed a multi-year a portfolio of over $3.2 million in grants in 2007 that supported projects in such countries as Egypt, India, Costa Rica, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia and Kazakhstan. The projects covered agricultural exports, rural income, food processing, environmental research, marketing strategies, micro-finance, integrated pest management, food safety and on-farm water management.

Conversely, over 60 international visitors from 16 countries visited Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, either to learn more about Ohio agriculture, to pursue an education, or to participate in various programs or research projects.

Though no longer directly involved with creating and managing study abroad programs, the Office of International Programs in Agriculture was a major trendsetter for nearly 20 years offering undergraduates an opportunity to earn academic credit abroad. As a result, many of the study abroad programs designed by the Office of International Programs in Agriculture are still offered today by the college.

"The study abroad programs are a true testament to the IPA staff foresight and dedication to the mission of our land grant heritage," said Kelly Koren, CFAES program director of international study abroad programs. Koren develops study aboard programs to such countries as China, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, England, Iceland, Netherlands and Uganda.

Ohio State University was recognized as the 2009 International Organization of the Year by the Columbus Council on World Affairs for its outstanding contributions to international education and its commitment to global outreach.

Erbaugh said that the efforts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences play an important role those international contributions.

"These efforts are good for Ohio State University because they bring excellent students from around the world to our campus, exposing both our domestic students and faculty to new ideas and concepts, as well as contributing to the overall goal of globalizing our research and education missions," said Erbaugh.

To learn more about the Office of International Programs in Agriculture, contact Mark Erbaugh at (614) 292-7252 or e-mail erbaugh.1@osu.edu.

Author(s): 
Candace Pollock
Source(s): 
Mark Erbaugh