The Borlaug Institute Welcomes 2Seeds Network

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2Seeds poster

The Borlaug Institute invites you on Friday, April 25 to join us as we welcome Amy Baker, executive director of the 2Seeds Network – a non-profit that recruits new graduates for development work in Africa.

Baker, in the latest installment of the Borlaug Institute 2014 Seminar Series, will discuss human capital development in agricultural and economic development – building competence and connections in-country for facing challenges when NGOs leave.

The lecture will take place April 25 from 12pm-1pm at Texas A&M University, West Campus, Agriculture & Life Sciences Building (AGLS) Room 129.

The 2Seeds Network is an incorporated non-profit, which serves as an umbrella organization incubating small, efficient, and effective agricultural development projects in Africa. 2Seeds focuses on selecting, training, and mentoring bright and passionate graduates at the beginning of their careers to work with its African partners.

Texas A&M University Welcomes the Hunger U Tour

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  • WHAT: Hunger U Tour Food Forum
  • WHEN: Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • WHERE:Texas A&M University West Campus, AgriLife Center
  • #hungercantwait

Join the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as we host an interactive forum by the Hunger U Tour on Thursday, April 3.

The evening panel discussion from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. aims to engage students and academia by encouraging the audience to chime in on food security and the fight against global hunger. The panel will include experts from organizations like Global Food Security, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Farmers Fight, World Hunger Relief, Student Researchers and Project Spammy.

The forum will be emceed by US Ambassador Eric M. Bost and will be moderated by Borlaug Institute Strategic Coordinator and Texas A&M University Agricultural Development Lecturer Stephanie Curs.

Hunger U is a “mobile tour educating college students, academia and anyone who eats about the role advanced agriculture plays in putting food on our tables.”

The Borlaug Centennial Celebrations

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In recognition of the centennial birth year of the late Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and agronomist credited with saving a billion people from starvation through his life’s work, the Borlaug Institute recognizes its namesake by sharing the following set of links and information related to Dr. Borlaug’s enduring legacy.

Borlaug Institute Centennial Tribute Video

Norman Borlaug: Journey to Statuary Hall | Preview | Iowa PBS

Borlaug Centennial Press Links:

Borlaug Centennial Miscellaneous Links:


March 21: The Next Generation of Hunger Fighters

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Hunger Fighters Promo Poster

Join the Borlaug Institute March 21 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. as Julie Borlaug granddaughter of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Father of the Green Revolution Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, will moderate a panel of young agriculture professionals and students who now work to build on her grandfather’s legacy of “training the new generation of hunger fighters.” Each panelist brings a unique perspective on agricultural development and the process of getting involved early in life.

The panel:

Blaze Currie is the Executive Director of AgriCorps, Inc., an international development organization that connects American agriculture volunteers to the demand for experiential, school-based agricultural education in the developing world. Currie graduated from Texas A&M University in 2008 with a B.S. in Agricultural Leadership & Development.

 Sean Thompson is a doctoral candidate in plant breeding at Texas A&M University and U.S. Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security.  Thompson’s work at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has focused on adapting new technologies to map growing environments, plant phenotypes, and genetics in an effort to select crop varieties capable of catalyzing agricultural-led economic growth in developing nations while increasing food production to meet the needs of a growing world population.

 Stephanie Curs, Strategic Planning Coordinator of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, is a volunteer with various local and international NGOs focused on international development, community development and poverty alleviation & food security. Curs holds a bachelor of science degree in agricultural development and a master’s degree in public service and administration from Texas A&M University.

 Taylor Whittlesey is a junior undergraduate student of Texas A&M University’s Department of Agriculture Leadership, Education and Communication. Whittlesey has traveled the world and competed in various agricultural development contests during her time as a student worker with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University.

Light refreshments to be served

Borlaug Seminar Slated Feb. 28

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Bost Davis Poster

On Feb. 28 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Eric M. Bost, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa 2006-2009, will join Dr. Tim Davis, the Borlaug Institute’s regional director for programs in Asia, to discuss the current landscape of agricultural development in Myanmar, formerly Burma.

Bost and Davis will recount first-hand experiences inside the developing country to review growing opportunities for
research and education in

Click the poster above for information

Borlaug Institute Seeks International Proposal Development Manager

INTL Proposal Ad

INTL Proposal AdThe Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University is in search of a well-qualified individual to develop proposals for international programs and projects across the globe. Click on the image to read about the qualifications we seek and how to apply.  

USDA Borlaug Fellows conclude food safety, biotech training at Texas A&M University

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Borlaug Fellows Julius Massange and Beatrice Opiyo hold their training completion certificates surrounded by their Texas A&M program mentors.

Borlaug Fellows Julius Massange and Beatrice Opiyo hold their training completion certificates surrounded by their Texas A&M program mentors.

By GABRIEL SALDANA | The Borlaug Institute

Borlaug Fellow Julius Massange holds his training completion certificate alongside his Texas A&M program mentors.

Borlaug Fellow Julius Massange holds his training completion certificate alongside his Texas A&M program mentors.

Two international participants of the Borlaug Fellowship Program – an international training program under the United State Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service – will return to their home countries with new insights to disseminate in plant biotechnology and food safety after concluding 11 weeks of training at Texas A&M University, College Station on Dec. 6.

The training sessions were organized by the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Julius Missanga, a molecular biologist from Tanzania, completed the Introduction to Plant Biotechnology program alongside mentors from Texas A&M University’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and the Institute for Plant Genomics & Biotechnology.

Borlaug Fellow Beatrice Opiyo holds her training completion certificate alongside her Texas A&M program mentors.

Borlaug Fellow Beatrice Opiyo holds her training completion certificate alongside her Texas A&M program mentors.

The course was designed to strengthen understanding of biotechnology in agriculture and using the technology for crop development. Among myriad additional program parameters, Missanga trained in operating lab instruments; gained hands-on experience with tissue culture; practiced monitoring gene activity and received courses in teaching learned technologies to undergraduate and graduate students.

Beatrice Opiyo, a food scientist from Kenya, concluded the program Food Safety Systems and Standards: Development, Implementation and Certification. Opiyo worked alongside mentors from Texas A&M University’s Department of Animal Science and the Texas A&M Center for Food Safety.

The program focused on food safety laws, regulations, practices and control systems, including the roles of public and private entities in affecting food safety in the United States. Food safety certification, hazard control, sanitation, risk and microbiological food testing were also components of the course.

The training programs for each participant, which utilized the world class facilities of Texas A&M for instruction, were also geared toward fostering new relationships with scientists in the interest of idea exchange.


Video: Heifer International CEO discusses opportunities, initiatives

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In his seminar lecture, recorded November 14, 2013 at Texas A&M University, Pierre Ferrari, CEO of philanthropic and international development organization Heifer International, reviews Heifer’s initiatives and the collaborations that allow the organization to continue its fight against global hunger and poverty.

We join the video as Dr. Linda Cleboski, the Borlaug Institute’s associate director for program implementation, introduces Ferrari by reviewing select aspects of his career in development.

College Station, TX TV station KBTX covers Ferrari’s lecture and Heifer International

The Borlaug Institute Seminar Series is a twice-monthly event where scientists, policy makers and other professionals working in the field of international agriculture development are invited to Texas A&M University by the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture to speak about their endeavors to faculty and students focused in that area. Seminars typically review opportunities for student internships as well as working opportunities for faculty.   

Video: Julie Borlaug introduces USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at 2013 Feeding the Planet Summit

Julie Introduces Shah


The linked video is official footage of the 2013 Feeding the Planet Summit at the George Washington University. In the video above, Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, introduces Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.)

Shah, the event’s keynote speaker, takes a look at the five most innovative things the US is doing to feed the world at the Feeding the Planet Summit.

Dominican Republic: Nutrition with Kids in the Garden

Taylor with her host family, Gonzale and Luisa.

Taylor with her host family, Gonzale and Luisa.

By TAYLOR WHITTLESEY | The Borlaug Institute

We all start laughing. Our hands are covered in dirt but the final product was well worth it. We sat down to survey our creations and smile. The bottle gardens of Cajuil fruit look beautiful. With the feeling of satisfaction still lingering, the kids pick up their bottle gardens to take them home. I smile; we actually did this.

My trip to the Dominican Republic began mid May with a small group of students and friends from Texas A&M University to teach teachers about the Junior Master Gardening newest curricula, the Learn Grow Eat Go! Program and build a garden at the community school. Christine Tisone, my professor from the Department of Health and Kinesiology, believed the curricula would be beneficial to the community of La Esquina. Knowing the success of the AGTEC program and how the JMG curriculum has affected countries worldwide, I agreed and began preparing for this past summer over a year ago in August of 2012.

The Learn, Grow, Eat, Go! Program has only been used in the United States, but after talking with the director of the program, Lisa Whittlesey, to get more information my team was concluded this would be beneficial to try due to the nutritional components. The curricula consist of games, stories, recipes for cooking, nutritional videos in Spanish and English and much other information to teach kids about the nutrients of plants we eat from the garden.

However, similar to most international efforts, we were forced to reevaluate our plans several times. We didn’t end up teaching teachers, but fortunately, we were able to accomplish a foundation for the program.

The first month and a half we got to know the community and learn more about foods that were eaten there. We were interested in knowing the amount of fruits and vegetables people ate on a daily basis and where that came from. Unlike America, most of the children ate fruits for snacks. This is mainly because fruits like mangos and cajuil are readily available in their yards. However, vegetables, were less common to find growing outside. Most families bought them on a grocery truck that came every once in a while. This concluded that planting vegetables were essential for the garden at the school.

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Taylor Whittlesey, Alicen Bessire, Kinsey Jeffers, and Susie Barr with the outer construction of the garden completed.

With this in mind, my team and I constructed a lay out for a key-hole type of garden that also included more recycling and asked the community if they were willing to help. Fortunately, they were excited and wanted to help. We came with no supplies for the garden because we wanted to use what they had there and build something they could reconstruct later. The outside barrier of the garden was made of chicken wire and plastic bottles that we found only the streets in the community. Not only did this aid in cleaning up the community, but it also increased awareness and excitement for what was going on at the school. The entire community helped us gather supplies like coffee grounds, cardboard, old clothes and food for the inside layers.

During the garden building, we also redid the curricula to make it more compatible with the Dominican culture. Then, we pilot tested out activities with kids and families in the community from our homes. Some of the activities we led were bottle gardens, fruits and vegetable bingo, garden art and the importance of meal substitution. The community was receptive and exceeded any expectations we had originally. Every afternoon, the children came to our houses to learn and create more projects with us.

Johanni and Trini creating bottle gardens.

Johanni and Trini creating bottle gardens.

The last week of July, I returned to the United States. However, my friend and teammate, Alicen Bessire, stayed in the Dominican Republic to teach at the La Capilla School. Now, I am working on research of food in the Dominican Republic and the nutritional aspects and health benefits they have on human bodies, while Alicen is using the curricula and this research to further implement the program.

Our goals for this next year are maintaining the relationships and contacts we made in the Dominican Republic, as well as providing funding to Alicen and for workshops to train teachers about the program so it can continue to flourish.

If you would like to help fund Alicen and our project, please visit the following link:

To learn more information about the project and what’s going on now, check out ‘The Dominican Experience’ facebook page for photos and blogs updates from our entire team.


A beautiful sunrise at the vista in La Capilla.