Borlaug Global Rust Initiative launches first virtual workshop

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2020 Women in Triticum Award Celebration virtual event. Graphic: BGRI

The BGRI will launch its 2020 series of Virtual Workshops with a 2020 Women in Triticum (WIT) Award Celebration called “The Changing Face of Leadership and Research in Wheat,” in an interactive webinar Thursday, May 21 from 10-11 a.m. EDT.

“Our new Virtual Workshops are an opportunity for the global wheat community to engage with speakers from around the world,” said Maricelis Acevedo, associate director for science of the Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat (DGGW) project and faculty member in Cornell University’s Department of Global Development.

“In the time of COVID-19, we have to be creative and proactive. We are planning a series of virtual events as we continue our efforts to strengthen the world’s resilient to rust diseases,” she said.

The planned 2020 BGRI Technical Workshop in June in Norwich, UK was canceled due to the pandemic.

Acevedo invites everyone to join in the interactive Zoom webinar through the globalrust.org website, and/or watch the event live on Facebook at facebook.com/globalrust.

The 2020 WIT Early Career Awardees are Anna Backhaus (UK), Bharati Pandey (India), Yewubdar Ishetu Shewaye (Ethiopia), Paula Silva (Uruguay), and Peipeiu Zhang (China). The 2020 WIT Mentor is Evans Lagudah, from CSIRO, in Australia. Short videos about each winner’s work and their passion for wheat will be played during the celebration.

The hour-long event will also feature a keynote address by World Food Prize president Barbara Stinson on “The Importance of Gender in Assuring Global Food Security.”

Sarah Davidson Evanega, who initiated the WIT Award in 2010, will talk about “The History of the BGRI WIT Award.”

An interactive WIT Panel Discussion with four former WIT winners will be moderated by Hale Ann Tufan (2010), the 2019 winner of the Norman Borlaug Field Research and Application Award from the World Food Prize.  The panelists will discuss “The Future of Wheat Research: Aspirations and Visions.” The online audience can submit questions. Panelists include:

  • Sandra Dunckel (2013), from KWS UK Ltd.
  • Sarah Battenfield (2014), from Syngenta in the U.S.
  • Mercy Wamalwa (2016), from Egerton University in Kenya
  • Sarrah Ben M’Barek-Ben Romdhane (2017), from the Regional Field Crops Research Center of Béja, in Tunisia

More details are available on the BGRI website.

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