WASHINGTON - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the honorees of the 2010 George Washington Carver Agricultural Excellence Award. This marked the first year the award was bestowed to the leader of an American Indian Tribal College when Dr. S. Verna Fowler, President of the College of Menominee Nation was named. The award was established in 2002 to honor international contributions from Minority Serving Institutions. Dr. Freddie L. Richards, Dean of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black university, was also selected to receive the prestigious award.
As USAID makes science, technology, and innovation a core part of its approach and broadens its partner base, there is a tremendous opportunity for Minority Serving Institutions, with their unique capabilities, to play a greater role. Dr. Richards and Dr. Fowler have both demonstrated successful examples of how involvement of leadership at Minority Serving Institutions has helped people in developing countries by targeting sustainable development challenges in food, rural economic growth, and the environment. Each will receive a $5,000 honorarium, a medal, and a plaque honoring their institutions’ support for their collaboration in international development.
Dr. S. Verna Fowler is the founding President of the College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin and of the Sustainable Development Institute. She is honored for her outstanding efforts in connecting indigenous people in the United States to those in Latin America to improve the quality of life through sustainable forestry and agriculture based on indigenous perspectives. This was accomplished through a partnership project, the Center for First Americans Forestlands. Dr. Fowler has directly delivered strategic capacity building services and technology transfer to indigenous communities in Central and South America, including a Forest Management seminar sponsored by the USAID Mission in Bolivia in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service. She has also hosted Brazilian leadership from a pan-indigenous confederation for technical exchanges sponsored by USAID for indigenous resource management and the State Department for a broad spectrum of civic enterprise in urban and rural communities.
Dr. Freddie L. Richards, Dean of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, is a long-time partner who has assisted with the implementation of USAID-sponsored projects for forty-one years. Dr. Richards was selected for the George Washington Carver Agricultural Excellence award in part for his role in establishing international centers for goat research and for the development and implementation of the USAID Ethiopia Sheep and Goat Productivity Improvement Program project that promotes small ruminant nutrition, health, genetic improvement, training, and infrastructure improvement. Currently, under his leadership, both Prairie View A&M and Langston Universities are implementing the Ethiopia project that is expected to benefit over 9 million pastoralists. The multi-million dollar project has served as a showcase for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and a model for HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions in providing international technical assistance.