From this first generation of Master´s graduates, 100% studied thanks to the encouragement and the financial support awarded by the Nippon Foundation which will enable these young professionals to be equipped to assume leadership roles across Latin America.
The Panamerican Agricultural School, Zamorano, conferred the Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree on the first graduating class of the Masters in Sustainable Tropical Agriculture (MATS). During two years of studies with emphasis on applied research, the university instilled in these professionals the basis for scientific knowledge to answer the new agricultural and environmental challenges. The MATS program is designed with a holistic, sustainable and regenerative approach based in analysis and design of production systems.
This new group of sustainable agricultural development professionals for Latin American consists of five women and eight men from across six countries: Bolivia (1), Colombia (1), Ecuador (3), Guatemala (1), Honduras (6) and Nicaragua (1). They will either join the work force or continue their studies with a broad knowledge of the value of agriculture and the importance of principles that work in harmony with the environment. With a critical eye to decision-making, these emerging leaders have been prepared to intertwine technology and innovation, social inclusion and conservation of natural resources.
During the ceremony, students with the best averages received honorable mention. These include:
During his address, Zamorano’s President, Dr. Jeffrey Lansdale, remarked “Graduates from this first Master´s Program, we have the same expectations of you that Dr. Wilson Popenoe had of the first graduating class of Zamoranos in 1946. You have to focus on what your contribution will be to the development of your countries. This is what the Masters Program is designed to emphasize: Research, generating reliable information and then knowing how to take advantage of it, to share and to communicate with public and private sector authorities for informed decision making to support the development of Latin American and Caribbean countries as well as the rest of the world. I want to thank the Nippon Foundation because their decision to support Zamorano by establishing the first Masters Program will have an impact on these young professionals and their countries”.
Mr. Peter Lehner, commencement speaker, who is a Managing Attorney for Food and Sustainable Farming at EarthJustice, addressed graduates, “… You have been bold enough to be in this first class. The easy path is doing just like everybody else. The harder path is to include sustainability in all your decisions. Right now, sustainable efficient production is the harder path, but we are here together because we all know that it is not only the better path, but in the end it is the only way to responsibly grow our food. An important part of your mandate as MATS graduates is to insure that sustainable production becomes the norm for all. You will be able to influence government policies as much as you influence what happens on your farm. Use that voice!”
Present at the event were Zamorano’s Dean and Vice President, Dr. Luis Fernando Osorio, as well as the MATS Associate Dean, Dr. Arie Sanders. Due to pandemic sanitary restrictions, Mr. Erik Peterson, Zamorano´s Board of Trustees President, Mr. Ichiro Kabasawa, Executive Director
of the Nippon Foundation, Mr. Norio Fukuta, Japan´s Ambassador, were virtually present. The class valedictorian, Ing. Andrea Reiche from Guatemala, gave the farewell speech in the name of her classmates.
MATS is Zamorano’s first-ever Master’s degree-granting program in applied research aligned with a vision of development and innovation. It is the first in a series of Master’s degrees that will be launched in 2021. The MATS program has allowed the university to expand its academic offerings to include postgraduate education and to influence regenerative agriculture as a pillar of humanity.