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Ambassador Bost and Borlaug Institute due in The Gambia

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Eric Bost, former US Ambassador to South Africa 

Press Release

Ambassador Eric Bost, former US Ambassador to South Africa and the Deputy Director of the Normal Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and Development at Texas A&M University in the United States is due in The Gambia over the weekend. 

Ambassador Bost is leading a high-power delegation of renown scientists on international agriculture to The Gambia.  

In partnership with Elevate Global, a US based international development organization, Ambassador Bost and the Borlaug Institute team will visit The Gambia to begin the final phase of a needs assessment report that will focus on enhancing agricultural productivity. 

The Borlaug Institute is one of the premier university-based entities in the US focused on agricultural development from production to processing and has worked in over 50 countries to improve livelihoods through science and applied practices. The agricultural program at Texas A&M University is the largest in the US in terms of size and research expenditures with 15 departments and over 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The team comprises of:  

Ambassador Bost, who oversees all operational aspects of the Borlaug Institute and its external relations efforts with partner institutions. He has served as Vice President of Global Initiatives at Texas A&M University and as United States Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa from 2006-2009, one of the largest US embassies in the world and the largest US embassy in Africa. Prior to serving as Ambassador, he was an Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service with the US Department of Agriculture responsible for the administration of 15 domestic nutrition assistance programs. Ambassador Bost has conducted business in more than 140 countries and is a trusted expert in international relations. He has presented lectures on over 100 university campuses world-wide and assisted numerous countries in the development, implementation, and/or review of nutritional programs.

Dr. Jack Elliot is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications and the Regional Director of Africa and the Middle East for the Borlaug Institute. He serves on the USAID Higher Education Learning Network Steering Committee, the AgriCorps Board of Directors and currently leads the AgriCorps Council of Research and Evidence and four USDA/FAS International Agricultural Education Fellowship Programs. He was also the past president of the International Association for Agricultural and Extension Education. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Elliot was a dryland grain farmer, cattle rancher, and operated a harvesting business in Montana for 17 years. 

Dr. Julie Howe is a Professor and Assistant Head for Undergraduate Programs in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University. Dr. Howe’s research expertise is in soil chemistry and fertility with a focus on understanding the impact of soil management practices on the fate and transformations of nutrients and carbon in the soil and water. In 2022, Dr. Howe was named as a primary investigator on the Texas Climate-Smart Initiative, a five-year project designed to expand the state’s climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices. Prior to joining A&M, she spent 10 years at Auburn University.

Dr. Michael Thomson is a Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and the HM Beachell Rice Chair at Texas A&M University. Dr. Thomson’s research expertise is in plant molecular breeding with an emphasis on crop genetics and genomics, international agriculture, and optimizing CRISPR-based gene editing approaches for efficient gene validation and trait development. Prior to joining A&M, he spent nearly 10 years at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in several capacities including serving as a Senior Scientist leading the Genotyping Services Lab.  

Dr. Russell Wallace is a Professor and Extension Vegetable Specialist in the Department of Horticultural Sciences located at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Center in Lubbock, Texas. Dr. Wallace’s research expertise includes vegetable weed and pest control, variety heat tolerance, and vegetable production using high tunnels for season extension and adverse climate protection. He works closely with commercial growers and commodity groups to improve crop production and assists with teaching Master Gardener courses and conferences around the state of Texas. 

Gil Gonzalez, President and CEO of Elevate Global, highly commended Ambassador Bost and Borlaug Institute team for taking this initiative to visit The Gambia. Mr. Gonzalez also thanked the Gambia government for their continued support and cooperation. 

During their visit, Ambassador Bost and team are expected to pay a courtesy call on President Adama Barrow at the State House. The team is also expected to meet with Dr Demba Sabally, Minister of Agriculture and Permanent Secretary Mod Secka and other Senior Officials. 

By Ebrima JT Kujabi 
Director of Strategic Communications and Government Relations 
Elevate Global, 
Washington, DC

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