The University of Nebraska signed an international education partnership agreement on May 2 focused on water and food security during the 2011 global Water for Food Conference at the Cornhusker Marriott.
The agreement, between the university's Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, The Netherlands, will enable Nebraska students to study abroad and bring students from developing nations to the university. Their studies will focus on agriculture and water resources management.
"The opportunity for international students to study in Nebraska--to see production agriculture at its best, to study the High Plains Aquifer, and to have as their field laboratory a state that is a global food producer--will offer an unparalleled breadth of experience," says NU President James B. Milliken. "Nebraska students will benefit from renowned IHE programs in water management, environmental science, water engineering and other disciplines, gaining new insights into the global water agenda."
In addition to study tours and student exchanges, the partners will develop joint Master of Science degree programs in water for food; short courses on advanced irrigated agriculture, water use efficiency, field measurements and other topics; and collaborative research projects on the use of water for agriculture.
"The development of joint education and research programs with partner institutes is one of the cornerstones of UNESCO-IHE's policy to serve the world water sector with good quality, relevant education and training at a scale required by the sector," says UNESCO-IHE Rector Andras Szollosi-Nagy. "Forging such ties with the University of Nebraska is of utmost importance to the institute, but also for the benefit of developing countries and countries in transition. These countries have an additional challenge in meeting the Millennium Development Goal of food security as population growth is particularly high."
NU administrators began discussions with UNESCO-IHE following the first Water for Food Conference in 2009 and agreed that Nebraska's expertise in water and production agriculture and IHE's experience in water management focused on developing nations provide the foundation for a strong partnership.
UNESCO-IHE is the world's largest international postgraduate water education facility. It is established as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 'Category I' Institute, operating under direct responsibility of UNESCO. The institute confers fully accredited M.S. degrees and promotes doctorates. Since 1957 the institute has provided postgraduate education to more than 14,500 water professionals from more than 160 countries, the vast majority from the developing world. UNESCO-IHE's mission is to contribute to the education and training of professionals and to build the capacity of sector organizations, knowledge centers and other institutions active in the fields of water, the environment and infrastructure, in developing countries and countries in transition.
The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute of the University of Nebraska is a research, education and policy analysis institute committed to helping the world efficiently use its limited freshwater resources, with particular focus on ensuring the food supply for current and future generations. Founded in April 2010 with a gift of $50 million from the Robert B. Daugherty Charitable Foundation, the institute draws on the expertise of the university's four campuses and of the state's agricultural producers and water managers to find ways to grow more food with less water. Developing partnerships in the state, nation and globally is key to building the institute's cooperative research and education programs addressing the challenges and issues surrounding the use of water for agriculture.