By Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University
My students and staff exclaim – she’s off again on an international trip! Indeed. For nearly six years, I’ve been engaged as a member of the board of trustees for CIFOR-ICRAF, an international institution comprised of two merged research centers that together produce much of the world’s knowledge on trees, forests, agroforestry, and sustainable landscapes. Aside from the pandemic years, I travel twice yearly for board meetings, usually at the campus of CIFOR, in Bogor Indonesia or ICRAF in Nairobi Kenya. In this photo taken in Indonesia, I’m pictured here with fellow board members from the Philippines, Germany, India, Japan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Finland, Indonesia, Kenya, and France.
CIFOR-ICRAF focuses on five global issues where trees can make a difference: biodiversity, climate, food, value chains, and equity. Every year, it produces more than 750 publications and its Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) is an amazing platform for communicating the results of this research and for convening on important topics.
Despite the amazing work, I find that too few people in the United States know about CIFOR-ICRAF. I want that to change. Recently the organization hired its first-ever CEO, Dr. Éliane Ubalijoro, and it presented a good opportunity to introduce her and the organization to DC policymakers.
The Swette Center hosted a seminar September 26, 2023, on Healthy Soils, Healthy Landscapes, Healthy People, for which Éliane was keynote speaker. The event was held at the ASU DC campus. Other speakers included former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, Jocelyn Brown Hall, Director of the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) North American Liaison Office, and Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security at USAID. It was a terrific event!
You can watch a video of the event, which runs about 40 minutes. It may be difficult to read some of Eliane’s slides, but you can find them here. Additionally, you can see more event photos on the Swette Center Instagram story highlight titled "Healthy Soils."