The College of ACES recently hosted a delegation from its longtime partner, India’s G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUAT). The visit was motivated by GBPUAT’s interest in using funding from India’s National Agricultural Higher Education Program (NAHEP) to revitalize its relationship with the University of Illinois.
“ACES International welcomes the opportunity to continue our historic relationship with GBPUAT under the NAHEP. The programs they are proposing, including leadership and student training, already exist within our capacity and experience, and the expanded international connections we can develop will offer new opportunities for ACES and Illinois,” says Alex Winter-Nelson, Associate Dean for International Programs.
In late January, the Office of International Programs coordinated an intense program of activities and meetings for the group of visitors that included GBPUAT’s Vice Chancellor Tej Partap. The GBPUAT delegation met with Chancellor Robert Jones, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategy Reitumetse Mabokela, College of ACES Dean Kim Kidwell, President Emeritus Robert Easter, and many other faculty, staff, and students. The delegation gave a presentation to ACES department heads that showcased the history of partnership between the two universities, and Vice Chancellor Partap presented an ACES International Seminar on “The State of Himalayan Agricultural Systems,” which was co-sponsored by the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Science and Animal Sciences.
A historical partnership
The history between GBPUAT and Illinois dates back many decades. Soon after its independence in 1947, India asked the United States Government to help establish its own version of “land grant colleges and universities.” Thus, The U.S. Agency for International Development’s partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research was officially established in 1952, and in 1964, the University of Illinois signed a partnership contract to assist India’s state of Madhya Pradesh in establishing the first agricultural university in India, now known as GBPUAT. (GBPUAT was formerly named Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University, but in 1972 was renamed in memory of the first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.)
Illinois’ faculty were instrumental in designing this university and its education system, including research and extension programs, from the ground up. The dedication and hard work of the Illinois faculty paid off when the new university became a significant force in India’s green revolution that increased agricultural production in the developing world.
Two new programs already in works
Most immediately, thanks to NAHEP funding which will cover all travel and expenses, GBPUAT is prepared to send its new administrators and a group of undergraduate students to Illinois. With the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, ACES International is developing a two-week leadership program for G.B. Pant administrators scheduled and an eight-week research training program for students. The leadership training program will be similar to previous programs ACES has hosted for Fulbright scholars. The student program will be based on the model of ACES’ long-running and successful International Summer Immersion Program (ISIP). Additional programs for faculty and student exchanges between Illinois and GBPUAT are still being discussed.