Thursday, July 16, 2009

What This is All About

This blog is to keep my family, friends, co-workers, Rotary Club members and anyone else updated on what's going on while I'm in Mexico.

For those of you who don't know, last May, I received a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship and now I'm off thanks to Rotary! I am so fortunate and try to promote the scholarship every chance I get. The ambassadorial scholarship is one of Rotary's many efforts to build cross-cultural and international relations of peace through its scholars. The scholarship is also a way for those who have career goals that are "service above self" oriented to continue learning and growing as professionals. While in Mexico I'll be attending local Rotary Club meetings, volunteering, presenting at different events, going on excursions with Rotary and attending grad school class full time. Now lets not forget all the crazy and fun adventures that are to be had, interesting and hospitable (hopefully) people and family to spend time with!

I'll be attending the University of Chapingo in Texcoco, just about an hour away from Mexico City. There are so many things that I love about this school. First of all, la Universidad de Chapingo is an all agriculture university, so whatever anyone studies is directly related to agriculture. It is also situated very interestingly, as being an agricultural university offering alternative, sustainable, organic and native farming classes and at the same time offering conventional large-scale monocropping systems that are dependent on pesticides and chemical use. I was first planning of taking a number of classes from various postgraduate departments, but then I found a program that I loved so much I couldn't help but keep all my classes within this program. While in Mexico, I will be taking the following classes in the Department of Rural Sociology:

Social Development and Organizing Rural Producers
Farmer Cooperatives and Associations in Mexico
Farmer Education and Self-Management
Indigenous Agriculture
Rural Communication
Creation and Evaluation of Agricultural Inversion Projects
Rural Social Movements
Old World and Modern Mexican Mythology

La Universidad de Chapingo is also right next to and works closely with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, a internationally recognized non-profit research and training institution that focuses on the improvement of wheat and maize varieties. This is where Norman Borlaug (from the University of Minnesota where I got my degree) developed his green revolution technology with the hope of ending world hunger but actually contributed to the dissemination of the agriculture industrial complex that has assisted in the depletion of soils on every continent, contamination of water and the demise of the small family farmer among a large list of other global problems.

I am very fortunate and excited to be in such an amazing, unique and historical place like Mexico and la Universidad de Chapingo. I look forward to continuing my journey and invite everyone to learn and maybe even live a little vicariously through this blog.

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