Professor Antonio C. S. Abboud, Instituto de Agronomia Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ-IA), Brazil, visited FAFS during the first week of August. As a delegate of his university’s president, Dr. Abboud aimed to set the stage for a broad cooperative framework between FAFS and UFRRJ-IA.
Dr. Abboud’s general interests lie in organic agriculture, agroecology, mouneh, landscape ecology, soil microbiology and agriculture in arid environments. Due to these interests and his goal to strengthen the interactions and collaboration with FAFS and OIP to further exchange programs between students and faculty members, Dr. Abboud met individually with FAFS chairpersons, Associate Provost Dr. Choueiri, and Director of the Office of International Programs (OIP), Dr. Hala Dimachkieh. He suggested a two-way grant to promote student and faculty mobility and exchange between AUB and UFRRJ.
During his stay, Dr. Abboud visited the tomato organic variety trials in Byblos, led by Dr. Mirella Aoun and her students. Dr. Aoun was a lead scientist in Canada’s organic agriculture before joining AUB-FAFS as a visiting assistant professor. FAFS graduate students involved in this work explained their experiments and how they manage tomato production using organic methods. The group discussed the tomato varieties and some of the challenges they face in the trials. Dr. Abboud spoke with the students about differences in practices and techniques in Brazil; and visited the AREC facilities with Drs. Aoun and Haidar.
Overall, Dr. Abboud noted that he was impressed with FAFS’s potential in agriculture and the many areas of expertise on which AUB and UFRRJ-IA can interact.