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Global Consortium on Higher Education and Research for Agriculture Conference

The Global Consortium on Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA), now 400 members strong, was organized "to foster global cooperation for the improvement of higher education and research for agriculture as a prerequisite to solving the food security and environmental problems confronting our world." The second conference of the consortium took place July 12-14, 2001, in San Francisco around the theme "Higher Education and Research for Agriculture and Food Systems in the 21st Century."

Over 200 participants from more than 50 countries around the world participated. Individuals from less developed countries attended with financial sponsorship provided by a number of organizations, including Farm Foundation and three companies represented on our board of trustees.

The conference was built around four interconnected themes: New Science in a New Century: Agricultural Research, Life Sciences and Information Technology; The Changing Nature of Food Systems and University Response; Agricultural Curricula for the 21st Century; and Organizing the University of the Future. The final day of the conference was devoted to a series of small group roundtable discussions/workshops relevant to the major conference themes. The sessions provided an opportunity for the development of "Virtual Working Groups" which are the sustaining entities for GCHERA members between the global conferences that meet every second year.

The conference proceedings are available  here. They are being distributed to all participants and other interested parties, as well as being available at the GCHERA website. The website also provides extensive information about the Consortium, including a current list of members and a description of working groups and their activities.

The level of membership and participation at the San Francisco conference indicates the need for this sort of organization. It can help shape the future of institutions of higher education and research in agriculture as they confront the mounting problems of future global food security in the context of a sustainable environment.




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