International food expert to speak Thursday as part of International Education Week

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 13, 2007 – Distinguished international agriculturalist Ron Cantrell will speak on "Can Rice Research Break the Cycle of Poverty for Rice Farmers in Asia?" on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute auditorium.

The lecture, sponsored by the Office of International Research, Education, and Development, is part of International Education Week, as declared by the U.S. Department of Education and Virginia’s Governor Tim Kaine.

Cantrell has been director general of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, head of the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University, chief of party and agronomist for Purdue University’s farming systems team in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and director of the Maize Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico.

Cantrell will address why many rice farmers in South and Southeast Asia are trapped in a cycle of poverty in spite of the great economic strides the region has made. He will discuss increased efficiency in rice production as a critical element of a development program for the rural poor of Asia.

The Virginia Tech Graduate School has scheduled observances for the week, including special programs, information sessions on studying abroad, games, and programs highlighting other cultures and photography from countries around the world. There will be special displays for the week in the following locations: Graduate Life Center Display Case, Newman Library, Virginia Tech Bookstore, and Volume II Bookstore.

For more information on the Nov. 15 talk, please contact Tiffany Brown at 231-6338. A calendar for International Education Week is available online.