Panama joins UA System Division of Agriculture in exchange pactAug. 8, 2012
Dave Edmark, Agricultural Communication Services
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Christina Miller, Office of the UA System Vice President for Agriculture
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Video of agreement signing at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E1hP7sscqfU#!
Video of speech delivered at ceremony in Spanish by Mark Cochran, UA System Vice President for Agriculture, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NTfTbKFvBXc#!
Event coverage in Spanish and additional photos on Panama presidential website at http://presidencia.gob.pa/noticia-presidente-numero-3723.html
Mark Cochran, UA System Vice President for Agriculture, and Michael Vayda, Dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, traveled to Panama on Aug. 3 to sign the memorandum of understanding with the Panamanian government. Oscar Osorio, Panama's Minister of Agriculture, signed on behalf of his government.
"With this agreement, we will exchange faculty and extension professionals for lectures, study tours and professional discussions," Cochran said. "We are looking for collaborative ways to strengthen their agricultural extension service and we will also exchange students for internships and summer work experiences." Cochran also noted that plans are to support the development of curriculum for a vocational-agriculture high school in Panama. This agreement is an opportunity to renew and re-energize relations between the university and the Republic of Panama that span 60 years. Dr. Paul Noland, emeritus faculty of Animal Science, was instrumental in the early efforts that established the relationship.
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, who earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at the UA in 1973, praised the pact. "The idea is that they (Ministry of Agriculture professionals) receive better training, and that these specialists can, in turn, reproduce this knowledge among Panamanian producers," Martinelli commented. He added that the agreement will strengthen Panama's Extension and instructional institutions, particularly for staff and technicians who need support for agricultural programs.
The agreement will also result in participation in seminars and Extension meetings between university personnel Arkansas and Panama, an exchange of academic and extension materials and special short-term Extension and academic programs.
Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford of the Arkansas Congressional delegation all participated in the signing ceremony at the Presidential Palace. After the ceremony, President Martinelli hosted the Arkansas delegation for a formal lunch where issues of mutual benefit related to the exchange pact, the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement and opportunities associated with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal were discussed. Also present at the signing ceremony and the Presidential lunch were Dan Hendrix and Herbert Morales of the Arkansas World Trade Center, who helped facilitate the trip.