The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2016 participants recently broadened their awareness of social, political, trade and cultural issues in Japan and Panama. The “Ron and Melanie Warfield International Perspectives Seminar” included presentations by 12 speakers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and other sites around the Champaign area. The IALP is sponsored by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation (IALF).
Over a two-year period the class is attending 14 seminars covering current social, political, business and economic issues in the agriculture industry. The “International Perspectives Seminar,” endowed by Ron and Melanie Warfield, focused on the two countries that are scheduled to be visited by the program Class of 2016 during its International Study Seminar in late February and March: Japan and Panama.
The “International Perspectives Seminar” began with welcoming remarks from Dr. Robert Hauser, Dean of the College of ACES at the University of Illinois. Dr. David Bullock, Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, College of ACES, spoke on trade policy and his recent work on nutrient loss management.
The Class of 2016 traveled to the “Japan House” at the University of Illinois, where Jennifer Gynsi-Ballsrud, Director, talked about the Japanese culture and provided a formal tea ceremony and etiquette session. Dr. Roderick Wilson, Assistant Professor, History & East Asian Languages and Cultures, then shared the “History and Culture of Japan” during a Japanese-style lunch.
Philip Levy, Senior Fellow – Global Economy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, presented a detailed overview of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and talked about current trade policies between the U.S. and Japan. Greg Hanes, Assistant Vice President International Marketing & Programs, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), discussed business practices and structure of Japanese corporations, and the work of the USMEF in exporting U.S.-produced beef products to Japan.
Dr. Robert Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois and a member of the IALF Board of Directors, provided a dinner presentation on the value of foreign travel and gaining knowledge and perspectives from our trade partners. The dinner was sponsored by the Timmons Family. Both Jay and Will Timmons are graduates of the agricultural leadership program.
The second day of the seminar shifted focus to Panama. Dr. Matthew Wheeler, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, College of ACES, discussed the “World Marketplace Impact on Panama” and his work with beef genetics in that country. Dr. James Dalling, Professor, Department of Plant Biology, who lived in Panama and continues to conduct work in the country, discussed the culture and etiquette appropriate to the Central American nation
Julie Pryde, Administrator, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, and Awais Vaid, Epidemiologist, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, gave health and safety tips to the group for international business travel.
Ron Warfield, a member of the IALF Board of Directors, spoke to the Class of 2016 about general etiquette for Americans traveling overseas.
“The International Perspectives Seminar provides a preview of the countries that the class will visit during our International Study Seminar,” said IALF President and CEO Don Norton. “The excellent faculty at the College of ACES provided an in-depth look at the divergent agribusiness landscape in these two very diverse but very important countries.”
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation provides a two-year seminar series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision makers for the agricultural industry. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, composed of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program. Candidates for the leadership program are selected during a competitive application process. Men and women 25 to 49 years of age working full-time in production agriculture or agri-related occupations are eligible. More information is available at www.agleadership.org.