Five Delegations of International Fellows Visit UTIA

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Twenty-three International Fellows Travel to Tennessee as Participants of USDA Fellowship Programs

Five delegations of scholars, hailing from East Africa, Mexico and Cambodia, have traveled to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture since August to engage in immersive experiences in veterinary medicine, grain production analysis, policies governing the beer, wine and spirit industry and other fields. The visits are facilitated by the UT Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture in collaboration with UTIA colleges and departments.

The delegations constitute opportunity for Institute faculty, according to Smith Center director and associate producer Tom Gill. “Fellowship programs such as these create the opportunity for faculty here at UTIA to share their knowledge on effectively communicating and teaching scientific topics, while also learning from their international colleagues,” Gill says. “This not only prepares the fellows to return to Africa with a deeper toolkit to improve their teaching and research, but it also strengthens our Institute’s global partnerships.”

Among the delegations visiting UTIA are 14 veterinary medicine fellows from four countries in East Africa. Nine scholars are participants in the USDA Faculty Exchange Program, and five are with the USDA Scientific Exchange Program. The fellows will be in residence at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine for three months.

UTIA is also hosting two Borlaug fellows from Mexico who are researching fungi and biofertilizers through the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. A delegation of five USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Cochran fellows from Cambodia toured Tennessee in August to learn more about how to measure, track and disseminate information about grain production. Another group of Cochran fellows from East Africa is presently at the Institute. This cohort is focused on learning about production, regulatory standards, trade and policy for the beer, wine and spirit industry. Both Cochran scholars groups are working with the Smith Center and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

The Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture was launched in 2017, endowed through generous donations from Donnie (B.S. animal science ’80, CEO of Foster Farms) and Terry Smith (B.S. elementary education ’80). The Smith Center is positioning UTIA as the go-to organization for global engagement in the agricultural-related sciences among U.S. land-grant institutions. The center does this by cultivating greater global engagement across all faculty, staff and students at UTIA, by increasing the Institute’s number of strategic global partnerships and by communicating the importance of UTIA’s global work.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.


Tom Gill

UT Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture