Thirty Illinois agricultural professionals visited the College of ACES on February 9-10, 2012, to gain an international perspective on agricultural policies and regulations. The Office of International Programs (OIP) coordinated a two-day program for the group to broaden their awareness of international social, political, and cultural issues, specifically related to China and India, where the group will travel to culminate their leadership program. The professionals are members of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP), a non-profit educational corporation that recognizes the need for strong agricultural leadership and serves to develop knowledgeable and effective spokespersons to become policy and decision makers for the agricultural industry.
OIP assembled a knowledgeable and diverse line-up of speakers to help attendees develop a better understanding of the role and responsibility of the United States within an ever-changing global agribusiness environment as well as the perspectives of China and India. Starting with a welcome and introduction by Dr. Dean Hauser, Dean of the College of ACES, the first day’s program focused on China and included a lecture on its history and traditions (by Dr. Kai-Wing Chow, History Department and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures), the economic perspectives of China (by Dr. Er Fang, College of Business), and agriculture in China (by Dr. Burt Swanson, ACES).
The group enjoyed Chinese food for lunch while learning about cross-cultural business etiquette/food in China (Ms. Lucinda Morgan, Office of International Programs, College of Education) and practical Chinese language and culture (Ms. Mei-hsuan Chiang, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies).
The second day focused on India. The attendees learned about the history and traditions of India (Ms. Dheepa Sundaram, Department of Linguistics), agriculture in India (Dr. Pransanta Kalita, ACES, Agricultural and Biological Engineering), Hindu religion and Hindi language and culture (Dr. Rajeshwari V. Pandharipande, Department of Linguistics), and economic perspectives of India (Dr. Madhubalan Viswanathan, College of Business). During Friday’s lunch, the group learned about cross-cultural business etiquette and food in India (by Dr. Mithilesh Mishra, Department of Linguistics). Meredith Blumthal, Director of ACES Education Abroad Programs, spoke to the group about health and safety issues for traveling abroad.
The two-day program was a great success, and the future agricultural leaders left with a greater international understanding that will be beneficial for their careers and for the future of agriculture in Illinois.