National Drought Mitigation Center


UNL Faculty Mentor Iraqis in Syria

June 23, 2010

Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse and Dr. Salloum Salim posed in front of agricultural equipment near Aleppo, Syria. Dr. Salim was one of the Iraqi scientists who visited the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008. Photo courtesy of Tsegaye Tadesse.

Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center and assistant professor at the School of Natural Resources, led a University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) delegation to Aleppo, Syria, to mentor Iraqi agricultural researchers and officials. They took part in a workshop for Iraqi Borlaug Fellows, organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), May 23-26. Others from UNL who traveled to Syria were Chuck Burr, from the West Central Research and Extension Center, and Dr. Tappan Pathak, climate change and variability extension educator.

A total of six U.S. institutions participated, including UNL. Among the Iraqi institutions participating were the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the University of Baghdad.

“The expectation is to help the Iraqis in identifying the technical, policy, and resource constraints in their country and make connections with U.S. institutions to mentor and collaborate  in the future,” Tadesse said. He saw many possibilities related to his work at the Drought Center. “Drought is a very big issue for all of the Middle East countries in general.”

This was the second part of a Borlaug exchange program organized by Dr. Don Wilhite, director of the School of Natural Resources at UNL. In 2008, two scientists (i.e., Dr. Ahmed Mahaimeed and Dr. Salloum Salim) from the University of Baghdad visited UNL.  According to the USDA, the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program helps developing countries strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing scientific training and collaborative research opportunities to visiting researchers, policymakers, and university faculty.

Iraqi-US Borlaug mentoring group
From left, Dr. Zewdie Bishaw, head of ICARDA's Seed Unit; workshop coordinator Lisa Wendel, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA; Karina Ramos-Hides, deputy director, Trade and Scientific Exchanges Division, FAS, USDA; Dr. Salloom B. Sallim, Iraqi scientist;  Dr. Ahmad S. Muhaimeed, Iraqi scientist, Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse, Dr. Dennis Corwin, USDA ARS, Salinity Lab; Dr. Tapan Pathak, UNL; Chuck Burr, UNL. Photo courtesy of Chuck Burr.
a manually operated well near Aleppo, Syria
A well near Qalb Lozeh was manually operated, without even a pulley system to help lift water. Photo by Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse.
sheep herding and milking near Aleppo, Syria
Sheep herding, including milking, was one of the agricultural practices the group observed near Aleppo, Syria. Photo by Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse.
Tadesse and Pathak on an ancient Roman road
Dr. Tapan Pathak, left, and Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse made time to explore a Roman road dating from the first century. Photo by Chuck Burr.