Written by Adam Striegel, Iowa State University
Have you ever had a defining moment of clarity? A moment that for a instant, the world seems to freeze in place as gears inside your head connect the points together in a way they’ve never been connected before.
I had one of those moments while concluding a group presentation of our recommendation reports for improving Thailand’s agricultural systems. Our group at that point had spent about two weeks in-country visiting university and government staff, touring research facilities, as well as large agribusinesses.
The group I was a part of presented on three facets Thailand could improve upon: educational efforts and research, communication, and technology development and infrastructure.
I found the presentations a very useful way to summarize our experience as we soon realized almost every one came to the same conclusions in the recommendation reports. That said, many Global Fellows saw these issues with different “lenses” based off their area of study and life experiences.
This aforementioned moment came in the conclusion of my group’s presentation. We fielded a question from Danielle, a senior at the University of Illinois in Agronomy asking us to clarify how our web-based communication/virtual library website proposition would cater itself to technologically in-adept farmers who may have minimal education.
Chandler, D.J. and I all answered the question, which then led to discussion amongst the other Fellows. I stood at the front of the room and watched as this discussion “pop corned” around the room from Global Fellow to Global Fellow. I watched as each individual’s contribution to the discussion added to the group’s understanding of this issue. Ag Business, Ag finance, Animal Science and Agronomy. The Global Fellows come from a very diverse background, and over these past 4 years have added immense value to our experience in AFA and in college.
I said it then in the conference room, and I will say it again now.
This is AFA. This is what AFA is about.