Tuesday, the much awaited Iowa~Tanzania Summit took place in Des Moines as part of the larger Hunger Summit and 2012 World Food Prize events for the week.  In attendance were roughly 90 people from all over the world, eager to learn more about the unique connections between Iowans and Tanzanians.

WHO Channel 13 in Des Moines did an article on the Hunger Summit, including some great coverage of the Iowa~Tanzania Summit that you can see here.

The keynote speaker for the day was Ambassador Mwanaidi Maajar, Tanzanian Ambassador to the United States.  She chose to kick off the day with an introduction to Tanzania’s history and culture, and then proceeded to talk about many of the issues that arise when working in partnerships between America and Tanzania.  Overwhelmingly, the relationship between the U.S. and Tanzania, and especially between Iowa and Tanzania, has been a positive and strong one, with great hope for the future.

Ambassador Maajar stayed for the remainder of the day, and took great interest in meeting the people from Iowa who attended the Summit, and hearing about the different areas people are working in.

Ambassador Maajar also met some local Tanzanians living in Iowa at a reception hosted by Dr. Yogesh Shah of Des Moines University’s Global Health Program Tuesday morning. Dr. Shah is on the Empower Tanzania Board of Directors.

In addition, there were three other speakers at the Summit. 

Dr. Dorothy Masinde, a lecturer at Iowa State University in the Global Resource Systems Major spoke about a summer internship program in Tanzania that took place in 2012. ISU’s Global Resource Systems major is the only one in the United States, and one of only two in N. America. Dr. Masinde gave Summit attendees a good education on what the GRS major is, and how it prepares students of many different disciplines to work in their fields in the developing world.

Dr. Carl Bern, Professor of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University shared research he has been doing to develop simple methods of reducing post-harvest grain losses in Tanzania and other developing countries. As much as 50% of all grain harvested is lost to bugs, fungus, and other problems related to storage. In the fight against food insecurity, reducing post-harvest loss is as important as increasing crop production.

Dr. Allan Hoffman, President Emeritus of the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, spoke on Gender Based Violence.  Acknowledging that this is a world-wide problem, and not specific to Tanzania, he went into some of the various ways that it plays out in Tanzania. Dr. Hoffman has published extensively and authored several books focusing on violence and violence prevention, and is currently researching the possibility of helping Tanzanians develop a program for Tanzania, through ETI.

Before the Summit began, Dr. Masinde’s summer interns got a chance to show posters and talk about their recent experiences in Tanzania and the research they did, sharing some of the insights they gained during their time there.

After the Summit, there was a networking reception for participants to share ideas and contacts, and learn about what others are doing in Tanzania.

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