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ALUMNI AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 26 - April 3, 1997

John Caldwell

By Catherine Doss

John S. Caldwell, associate professor of horticulture, will receive the first annual Alumni Award for Excellence in International Programs at Founders Day ceremonies. Caldwell is acknowledged for his significant and long-standing contributions to international agricultural research, development, and education during his 15 years at the university.

"This is quite an honor," Caldwell said. "It was unexpected, but I was certainly pleased to be recognized for my work abroad."

Caldwell was cited for the contributions his international activities have made toward the university's traditional land-grant mission of service to the commonwealth and the world.

From 1988-1991, Caldwell served in Mali, West Africa, under the auspices of a multi-institutional project in which Tech played a key role. His dedication to collaboration with Mali continues. He is expected to return today from a two-week visit there. From 1992-93, while on sabbatical in Japan, he developed new and innovative approaches to the linkage of Japan with West Africa and with the international farming-systems community.

A unique feature of Caldwell's work has been the creation of new linkages across disciplines and continents. He has involved faculty colleagues in agricultural and applied economics, human nutrition and foods, crop and soil environmental sciences, and statistics in collaborative work. He has invited farmers from southwest Virginia to serve as resource persons in international training, enabled a Filipino agricultural researcher to provide training in West Africa, organized presentations with a Malian colleague in India and Thailand, and created an opportunity for a Japanese farmer to offer a joint presentation in France. He has worked closely with Virginia Cooperative Extension and state farmers to apply methods developed overseas to on-farm research.

Caldwell's colleagues praise him for his scholarship and professional focus. For example, he learned the native language of Mali (Bambara) so that he could directly interact with and understand the people and their culture.