Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue professor and World Food Prize laureate
Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue professor and World Food Prize laureate

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development has a new member. President Obama has appointed Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University distinguished professor of agronomy and World Food Prize laureate, to a three-year term.

The IFAD board advises the administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development on agricultural development priorities and on U.S. universities' involvement in Title XII (Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger) issues worldwide.

Ejeta points out that a predecessor to USAID built the high school and college that he attended in his native Ethiopia.

"I have now gone full circle," Ejeta says, "from a young African child given an opportunity for education by an act of a U.S. government body to now having the chance to offer a new vision or a new policy directive that may give a similar chance of education to another African child or a life-saving act for another child somewhere. What a privilege and responsibility."

Ejeta received the 2009 World Food Prize for developing a drought- and disease-resistant sorghum variety.

In 2010, he was appointed a science envoy for the U.S. State Department. He is the executive director of the newly created Purdue Center for Global Food Security and serves on the boards of the Consortium of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Sasakawa Africa Association, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Agricultural Development Program.

Ejeta also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Crop Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.

 He received a bachelor's degree in plant sciences from Alemaya College of Agriculture in Ethiopia and a master's and doctoral in plant genetics and breeding from Purdue.

You can get more information on the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development at this USAID website.