Lalit Verma 2017-10-25 02:01:05
Support of global outreach to promote the ABE profession Anew award, available through the ASABE Foundation, to recognize outstanding sustained efforts in promoting agricultural and biological engineering globally was endowed in 2016 and presented at the 2017 AIM. The eponymously named Lalit and Aruna Verma Award for Excellence in Global Engagement, which recognizes outstanding contributions toward global advancement and recognition of the profession of agricultural and biological engineering, and excellence in global engagement and international education, outreach, and research, could not have been possible without the support of the ASABE Foundation. For someone who came to the U.S. 45 years ago, as a 21-year-old graduate student, to be able to sponsor such an award is a dream that could not have been realized without ASABE and the ASABE Foundation. I remain eternally grateful Agricultural and biological engineers (ABEs) are vital in addressing global hunger to feed an additional three billion people by 2050. Our profession’s past contributions to safe, affordable, and abundant food are duly documented. Yet it is disturbing that the number of academic programs around the world that are preparing graduates to be ABEs has dwindled. ABEs do not yet have the respect or clout that we have earned and deserve. The ASABE Foundation has several established funds that recognize and support our current and future ABEs. ASABE’s global engagement was formally initiated at the 2013 Annual International Meeting (AIM) in Kansas City. At the 2014 ASABE/CSBE AIM in Montreal, we mapped out the global challenges and opportunities for ABEs as part of the Global Engagement Day activities. To further our global initiative, a strategic position paper that identifies ABEs’ importance and responsibility in sustainably feeding the world in 2050 has been developed and is available at: www.asabe.org/media/195967/globalinitiative.pdf. Finding ways to meet the food, water, and energy challenges facing billions of people is at the heart of our global initiative, and the Foundation has been instrumental in supporting this effort by recognizing outstanding global outreach and funding projects that help underserved populations. The “Engineering and Technology Innovation for Global Food Security” Conference, held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, last October, was the second in a series of conferences to be held biennially with the goal of tackling the Grand Challenges of global food, water, and energy security. The next conference, “Global Water Security for Agriculture and Natural Resources,” which is set for October 3-6, 2018, in Hyderabad, India, will focus on water security (http://asabewater.org). I am proud that we have developed a strategic vision for our role in a global context. Publicizing this strategic vision to affirm our unique expertise in sustainably providing the essential needs of life is ongoing and critically important. We are expanding our global influence and membership through collaborations and ASABE-led global summits. It will be gratifying when the world recognizes our relevance and competence for solving the Grand Challenges facing the world. The ASABE Foundation will continue to play a key role in our success. The integral partnership of ASABE and the ASABE Foundation in communicating who we are, what we do, and how we are vital is to be celebrated. The ASABE remains vital to the success of these initiatives through outreach, fundraising, and promotion of the ABE profession. Ask yourself, “How can I encourage and support the global work of ASABE?” It begins with supporting your Foundation. Whether it’s making a one-time gift, a bequest in your will or living trust, or setting up a donor-advised fund, I challenge you to help us all move forward. ASABE Fellow, Life Member, and Past President Lalit Verma, P.E., Professor and Head, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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