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Advancing wheat science from CIMMYT to the classroom

grupo21Despite numerous flight disruptions in Europe, due to unusually cold winter weather and an unforeseen strike of Spanish air traffic inspectors, 15 university professors of plant breeding, pathology, and molecular biology from seven Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey) and Ethiopia arrived at El Batán on 5 December 2010 to attend a week-long workshop entitled, “Wheat Science to Textbooks.”

The first of its kind prepared by CIMMYT, this unusual workshop was designed to comprehensively present and share the explorations of the Global Wheat Program so they may be used to enrich the curriculum of plant breeding and related subjects at universities.

One of the course participants, Tadesse Dessalegr, associate professor at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia, plans to share what he has learned during the course with his students, researchers, and colleagues. “It’s a great experience to meet with wheat breeders and pathologists from all over the world,” said Dessalegr, who visited El Batán once before in 1985. “I am happy to see how CIMMYT has changed in the past 25 years, and I am glad to be making links between Bahir Dar University and CIMMYT, as well as other world-wide universities with prestigious wheat breeding programs,” he continued.

The majority of the course consisted of presentations given by CIMMYT scientists, however, participant presentations comprised Wednesday’s program, allowing the attendees to exchange on the conditions of regional agricultural and university programs. The workshop concluded on Friday, 10 December 2010, wherein half the participants took in the archaeological beauty of Teotihuacan, pre-Columbian pyramids less than one hour’s drive from El Batán, and the other half enjoyed food, drink, dancing and good cheer at CIMMYT-El Batán’s annual Christmas party.