Strengthening Partnership - University of Sydney, Australia, signs a Memorandum of Understanding with ICBA
On the 5th of March 2014, The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and the University of Sydney signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), a significant milestone in the partnership between the two organizations.
Mrs. Fiona Chandler, Director of International Collaboration and Partnership at ICBA, said that the intent of signing the MoU between the University of Sydney and ICBA is to facilitate joint visits of academic and scientific staff for the purpose of participating in teaching and training; joint research and the exchange of scientific materials and other information. This partnership is in line with ICBA’s new mission, which is ‘to work in partnership to deliver agricultural and water security solutions in marginal environments’.H.E. Pablo Kang, Australian Ambassador to the UAE, gave the opening remarks to the event emphasizing the importance of the relationship between Australia and the Arab world in general and the United Arab Emirates in particular. Reflecting on the long history of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney and their experience in similar arid environments, Ambassador Kang sees potential for a very successful partnership between ICBA and University of Sydney, one which will be of benefit to agriculture in marginal environments in.The MoU signing was part of a larger event which included presentations from both the University of Sydney and ICBA. Professor Mark Adams, Professor and Dean of Agriculture and Environment at University of Sydney spoke about ‘Recent studies on adaptation of Australian native plants to drought and poor soils’; while his colleague from University of Sydney, Associate Professor Leanne Piggott, discussed the ‘GCC Food Security Investments and Australia’s Appetite for Agribusiness FDI’. From ICBA, Dr. Shoaib Ismail presented ‘ICBA’s innovation in agriculture under marginal environment through collaboration and partnership’.“The signature of the MOU with Sydney University from Australia is very important for ICBA. It opens up opportunities for collaborations on different aspects related to agriculture in marginal environments” said Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of ICBA. She added “The University of Sydney is one of the oldest universities in the world; it has very strong knowledge on the genetic and crop modeling and crop production side and ICBA as well has a lot of strength to implement research project throughout the countries that we work be it in Central Asia, MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa”. Dr. Elouafi considers the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding a milestone for ICBA and testimony to the engagement with University of Sydney over the past year.
“The MoU is an important symbol of a partnership that has been building over the last couple of years. The University of Sydney has been a visitor now to ICBA for several years and a lot of good work has been done and today is really a culmination of that” said Prof. Mark Adams, Dean of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney. Who added “The MoU is really just the beginning; having done all this good groundwork to establish the basis for collaboration the next few years is about putting it into practice. What would be the projects that we will work together on? What would be the outcomes that we are looking for?” Professor Adam expressed his delight of ICBA’s focus on delivering real interventions for farmers, “interventions that can make a difference”.