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CIMMYT welcomes Japanese students

October 3, 2008

CIMMYT-El Batán hosted 10 students from Japan’s Yokohama City University (YCU) from September 12-22, in a visit organized by Tomohiro Ban, formerly a CIMMYT senior scientist and leader of the Japan- CIMMYT Fusarium head blight project, currently a professor in the Division of Plant Genetic Resource Science at YCU. The program included visits to Texcoco, Teotihuacán, and Xochimilco, as well as numerous educational presentations and tours.

For many of the students—8 are undergraduates enrolled in general education courses— CIMMYT provided their first introduction to genetics, breeding, and other aspects of agricultural research. Equally important, the students experienced a new culture and language which helped them conceptualize how big picture issues—such as global food supplies, global warming, and international standards— cross country lines.

“Many of the students have not decided what to study, and this experience will influence their education choices,” said Sayaka Niwa, a Masters student studying wheat breeding. Niwa, who has used CIMMYT seeds in her research, said she especially enjoyed the group’s visit to Toluca and the opportunity to see fields where research data originates.

Jo Taguchi, a first-year Masters student, cited Javier Peña’s presentation on wheat quality as one of his favorite events. Since Taguchi studies durum wheat and previously lived in Mexico, he found the opportunity to visit CIMMYT doubly appealing.