Two faculty members and a county Extension director exemplify UF/UFAS’ efforts to help solve global issues and have earned the UF/IFAS International Awards for 2014.
Edward “Gilly” Evans, Muthusami Kumaran and Basil Bactawar have won this year’s honors, as announced by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.
“This is a great distinction and honor for each that reflects the global stature of their career accomplishments and the high esteem in which they are held not only here in IFAS but also worldwide,” Payne said.
Evans, an associate professor of food resource economics at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida, has dedicated more than 30 years to highly productive international service and research, beginning shortly after he graduated from college in 1982.
His efforts have led to significant advancements in international cooperative research, teaching and service with special emphasis on the sweeteners market, the economic impacts of invasive species and agricultural sustainability.
“I am really humbled and very appreciative of this award and even though I do I what I do more as a labor of love, in all honesty, deep down it is gratifying to know that your peers see value in and appreciate what you do,” Evans said.
Kumaran, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences, specializes in nonprofit management and community organizations. He is recognized as an international expert in nonprofit and non-governmental organizations management and has spread his knowledge to India, South Korea, South Africa and The Bahamas.
“In a nutshell, Dr. Kumaran personifies the highest level of UF/IFAS faculty accomplishment and impacts through international collaboration, networking and outreach in teaching, research and service – a fact that is recognized and lauded by the beneficiaries of his expertise,” Payne said.
Kumaran said he’s honored by the award.“I am truly humbled by this award and touched by the overwhelming support from my colleagues at UF and in several countries,” Kumaran said. “Nonprofits and NGOs provide vital services around the globe, and it is my honor to assist some of them in their organizational capacity building.”
Bactawar, Union County Extension director, has volunteered for three international development agencies through 10 assignments in Mali, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Bolivia, Uganda, Egypt, Azerbaijan and Belize during the past 11 years. He consulted farmers and feed makers to determine their problems and developed an Extension work plan for them. Bactawar also trained 204 livestock producers and formulators to cut costs by using local ingredients with good nutritive value.
“I am humbled by this award, but I am happy to be of service to producers who needed the training,” Bactawar said. “If we who have the knowledge don’t help, who would?”