ASABE Annual International Meeting 2019: FAFS participation

FAFS participated in the Annual International Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), in Boston, USA (July 7-10).

Dean Mohtar was an invited panelist in the opening, plenary discussion on sustainability and discussed the three pillars of achieving sustainability: technology, behavior, and policy. He highlighted the need for interdisciplinarity - breaking silos without dissolving disciplines - in order to promote coherent communication and collaboration among disciplines. “We must consider the issue of access when discussing sustainability: the human dimension is important, because many people lack access to clean water, energy and food”, stated Dean Mohtar.

Mohtar also co-organized and moderated the special session: Implementing Water, Energy, and Food Sustainable Development Goals. The session shared lessons learned across scales and sectors from WEF nexus case studies in implementing the SDGs and discussed ways of improving scientific understanding, governance, and institutional structures to better respond to the challenges faced in operationalizing water, energy, food nexus solutions.

Dean Mohtar highlighted the role of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Consortium, emphasizing the system-of-systems approach and the need for a new value-based business model. Other panelists presented an overview of the WEF Nexus and SDGs, implementation challenges of the SDGs, the role of tools, data, and assessment, the governance and institutional challenges faced, and the role of the private sector role in SDG implementation.

In a separate session on Curriculum Design and Student Success, Dr. Roula Bachour, Project Manager, FAFS-AUB led project Transforming Higher Education, presented that project’s educational model. Dr. Bachour discussed the project’s educational model, including its five pillars and ways of incorporating these into the academic curricula. The Transforming Higher Education Project is led by AUB, in partnership with the Global Confederation for Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA), EARTH University, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Bachour’s presentation highlighted the AUB-FAFS commitment to the project, and the progress achieved toward the strategic change agenda and action plans of the project’s partner universities: the Technological Institute of Conkal in Yucatán (Mexico), Technological Institute of Higher Education of Calkini in Campeche (Mexico) and Quisqueya University in Port-au-Prince (Haiti).