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​​Introduction to International Agr​iculture and Development fo​r Plant Pathologists: A 3-Part Series

This Introduction to International Agriculture and Development for Plant Pathologists webinar series was developed to introduce plant pathologists to key concepts and tools in international agricultural development with the ultimate goal of improving plant pathologists' ability to conduct collaborative projects to promote plant health in developing countries. In honor of the International Year of Plant Health, The APS Office of International Programs would like to provide this webinar series as a free resource to plant health professionals across the world in honor of the International Year of Plant Health and to foster a spirit of collaboration to support global plant health.

International collaborations to address plant health issues in developing countries are necessary to address key constraints to global food security. Working in international agriculture and development comes with its own set of stakeholders, vocabulary, and key concepts that can be overwhelming for researchers lookin​g to initiate collaborations in other countries. In this webinar series, we will introduce participants to international agriculture and development and provide them with an overview of key conce​pts and tools that will aid in international agriculture collaborations.

  • Part 1: Call to Action - Plant Pathologists to Advance Food Security in the Developing World

    Part 1: Call to Action - Plant P​​athologists t​o Advance Food Security in the Developing World

    Broadcast Date: September 16th | 11:30 am Central

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    Webinar Sum​​​mary

    With an ever-increasing world popu​lation, need for more food production, and continuous threat on crop and food production by pests and diseases, plant pathologists are called to action. International agriculture and rural development programs and agencies strive to achieve long-term solutions to agricultural, social, and economic problems by helping developing countries build the necessary human and institutional capacities needed to solve these problems.

    Plant pathologists are poised to make transformative impacts on the livelihoods of farmers around the world by improving crop production and protection, nutrition, health, income, and food security. This webinar will highlight the history and concepts of international development with emphasis on agriculture and rural development components, the different agencies and programs involved, the educational and training opportunities available, and the need for an equitable and sustainable plan to achieve food security.

    About the Presen​​ter

    Fayad_Amer_100x150.jpgAmer Fayad is a plant pathologist specialized in plant viruses and integrated pest management (IPM). He has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Virginia Tech, an M.S. in Crop Protection, a B.S. in Agriculture, and a Diploma of “Ingenieur Agricole” from the American University of Beirut. Fayad’s experience in managing international agriculture and development programs includes working as Associate Director of the Feed the Futur​e Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management (IPM IL), a USAID-funded program managed by Virginia Tech. He led IPM project design and implementation, provided research guidance to project partners, coordinated IPM activities relevant to plant pathogens, coordinated identification and development of management strategies including biological control of pathogens, and organized regional and international workshops and symposia. Project countries included Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Nepal, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. Fayad is currently a National Program Leader in the division of plant systems protection at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA, USDA).

  • ​Part 2: Stronger Together - The Study of Plant Diseases and Their Social Impact

    Part 2: Stronger Tog​ether - The​ Study of Plant Diseases and Their Social Impact

    Broadcast Date: September 30th | 11:30 am Central​

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    Webinar Su​mmary

    Plant pathogens have an indis​putable impact on our world. The most famous example comes from the Irish Potato Famine when people cared about the impact of plant diseases on human lives for the first time. This concern birthed the academic discipline of plant pathology. Today, almost two centuries later, the study of plant pathology has evolved tremendously. However, seems that research focuses too much on the disease triangle elements (host, pathogen, and environment), while overlooking plant diseases’ influence on human beings locally and globally.

    This webinar will highlight the importance of integrating social dimensions in plant pathology research. It will also introduce key concepts and tools that would support this goal. Participants will gain a social perspective to their research that will allow them to contextualize their study in today’s world and provide tools to integrate social science research and open doors to conducting interdisciplinary work.

    About the Pres​​enters

    Huerta_Ilse_100x150.jpgIlse Huerta is an agricultural advocate with experience in teaching, research, and extension within social and plant sciences. She completed her Ph.D. in Agricultural & Extension Education and International Agriculture & Development from The Pennsylvania State University. Ilse holds a M.S. in Plant Pathology from the same institution and was a plant pathology instructor at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico. Her professional interest is to contribute to building and maintaining the necessary knowledge bridge between research findings and their application in agriculture. Ilse has conducted research on strawberry soil pathogens, tomato late blight, Latino/a farmers in Pennsylvania and labor shortage in the mushroom industry. Recently, she chaired the creation of a Latinx committee in Pennsylvania that supports research, extension programming and education for Hispanic and Latinx involved in agriculture.

    Habashy_Noel_100x150.jpgNoel Habashy is an educator who is committed to the holistic development of students and communities locally and around the globe. He has lived in five countries and worked in or traveled to over thirty others during his fifteen-year career in international development, international education, and higher education. He is an Assistant Teaching Professor of International Agriculture at Pennsylvania State University (University Park, Pennsylvania, USA) where he teaches undergraduate classes related to international agriculture and development and coordinates the International Agriculture minor. Noel holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural & Extension Education and International Agriculture & Development from Pennsylvania State University.​

  • Part 3: Managing Mycotoxins in Low-Resource Settings

    Part 3: Managing Mycotoxins in Low-Resou​​​​rc​​e Settings

    Broadcast Date: October 12th | 11:30 am Central

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    Webinar ​Summary

    Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that contaminate a large proportion of the world's foodstuffs. They cause economic losses in food systems with effective food safety regulatory systems, and harm human and animal health in low-resource settings. Maize is particularly vulnerable to colonization by the fungi that produce aflatoxin and fumonisin. These toxins require management throughout the maize value chain. Drawing upon experiences in Africa and India, five aspects of mycotoxin management will be discussed: surveys and surveillance; crop genetics and breeding; post-harvest grain management; grain sorting; and the links between soil health, plant health and human health. Both breeding and sorting entail important trade-offs, while post-harvest grain management and building soil health potentially present win-win scenarios for producers and consumers.

    About the Presen​ter

    Nelson_Rebecca_100x150.jpgRebecca Nelson is a professor at Cornell University, in the School of Integrative Plant Science and the Department of Global Development. Her interests and activities relate to plant health, agroecology, food systems and ecological sanitation. Her laboratory works on disease resistance in crops with a focus on maize in Africa. Her laboratory is analyzing the genetic architecture of quantitative disease resistance and dissecting mechanisms that impair pathogen development, with a special interest in mycotoxin resistance and​ management. Rebecca serves as scientific director for the McKnight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP). Through the CCRP, she supports a portfolio of research projects aimed at improving food security in developing countries in Africa and Latin America (http:// She co-teaches courses in international development and public health. She worked at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru from 1996-2001 and at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines from 1988-1996.


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