“Land-grant universities and HBCUs are instrumental for serving and empowering African-American farmers, in addition to its academic excellence.”
– Dr. Purna B. Nepali
Dr. Purna B. Nepali, a Fulbright visiting scholar, recently spent three days on Fort Valley State University’s campus meeting with researchers and Cooperative Extension personnel.
During his visit, Nepali, who is conducting postdoctoral research at Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, gave a lecture entitled, “Relevance of Land-Grant Universities and Historically Black Colleges [and Universities] (HBCUs) for Inclusive Agrarian Transformation in Nepal: Pros and Cons.”
He presented his research to graduate students and College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology faculty and staff in the auditorium of the Stallworth Biotechnology Building.
“Land-grant universities and HBCUs are instrumental for serving and empowering African-American farmers, in addition to its academic excellence,” Nepali said. He feels that visiting FVSU was a great learning experience for him as it serves as both a land-grant university and HBCU.
His goal is to take this information back to his native country, Nepal, which he noted lacks research and Extension functions that are important for inclusive rural and agrarian transformation.
“A state university should be established for regional and community development beyond classical teaching functions,” Nepali said. “That is an important thing that FVSU is doing, and it’s a very good opportunity for us to learn.”
To learn more about the university, Nepali met several FVSU representatives, including Dr. Thomas Terrill, associate professor of animal science, and Leon Porter, Houston County Extension program assistant. Porter said Nepali learned about the Cooperative Extension program, the agents’ daily duties and the type of customers they serve, which could be helpful in implementing similar operations in Nepal.
Nepali also met Dr. Brou Kouakou, professor of animal science and director of the Office of International Agriculture and the Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center, to discuss possibilities of a future collaboration for faculty and students to travel to Nepal.
The Fulbright scholar said meeting with various research and Cooperative Extension experts helped him understand the issues of sustainable agriculture, disadvantaged farmers and issues related to African-American farmers. Dr. Nirmal Joshee, professor of plant science, facilitated the seminar.
As Georgia’s only 1890 Land-Grant Institution, FVSU’s mission is to empower students to use education to pursue meaningful careers and to use scholarships, research and outreach to make lives better for surrounding communities.