WSU, College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences and the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan have restored an international relationship.
An international agreement signed Aug. 19, 2009, has a three-fold purpose:
- The University of Agriculture (UAF) will recommend qualified individuals for doctoral studies at WSU with the express purpose of such individuals returning to train UAF faculty and increasing the capacity at UAF to provide educational programs at the undergraduate level at UAF, and to conduct research and outreach that will support economic development and food security throughout that region.
- Encouraging faculty and student collaboration between the universities.
- Developing a program of faculty and student exchange to deliver courses and conduct research of mutual interest.
UAF Vice Chancellor Iqrar Khan said he hopes the agreement will bring about increased opportunities for graduate training, joint teaching, collaborative research and strategic partnerships. “We are building bridges in a time of uncertainty, when all of us are facing challenges,” he said, adding that those challenges and uncertainties make bridges between people and between countries even more important.
With this agreement, Barbara Rasco, WSU professor of food science and the IPA program manager for WSU said, WSU will have a greater international impact and will build graduate programs in agriculture and related fields. UAF will benefit from a cadre of WSU-trained scholars and scientists. Both universities will benefit from the teaching and research collaboration.
“This is my dream come true,” said Dr. Tahir Zahoor, a UAF associate professor at the National Institute of Food Science and Technology who has been on sabbatical at WSU. He has been working on food safety research in the lab of Dong-Hyun Kang, an associate professor in food science. During that time, Tahir, Kang and Rasco have collaborated on a number of research projects that will lead to joint publications.
Indeed, the similarities between soil and climate conditions in Pakistan and Eastern Washington were recognized more than 50 years ago when universities around the country stepped up efforts to share technical assistance with developing countries. According to George A. Frykman, writing in “Creating the People’s University: Washington State University, 1890-1990,” faculty from WSU traveled to Pakistan beginning in 1951 to make recommendations regarding programs in agriculture, business, teacher training, social science and library services.
Along with food safety, Rasco said, UAF has strong programs in dryland farming, cereal and dairy sciences. Pakistan is the second largest producer of chickpeas in the world, one of the top five milk producing countries, and a major producer of wheat, she said.
“There are a lot of areas of crossover between our two universities.”