Archive for August, 2009

Korea Training Course

We are counting the days and getting ready for this important training (International Training Course for Plant Genetic Resources and Genebank Management) that will happen during 7-18 September in Suwon, Korea.

We are planning to test our website and get feedback from the 15 participants coming from various Southeast Asian countries with a wide range of genebank expertise, while teaching and disseminating useful technical information. We hope this kind of web knowledge platform will be useful for this type of learning and exchange of experiences. We already know a little bit about you (participants) from the questionnaires you kindly filled and sent to us to help organize the information for the course.

We had skype meetings amongst our little group involved on the development of the website this week and several emails exchanges to tune the lectures related to the website and the website itself.

We are going to proceed in the next few days to have as much information as possible and links ready to make the most of this first opportunity to interact face to face with potential users and contributors of the website. Do not be surprise if things look a bit different (hopefully for the better!) if you happened to have browsed the site last week.

We have been also quite busy preparing some feedback forms to handout during the course to capture a wide diversity of information.

The organizers of the course (Rural Development Administration, National Agrobiodiversity Center and Bioversity International) have been doing an excellent job in coordinating and compiling useful technical (the technical handouts are very comprehensive and informative) as well as practical information on the RDA genebank website link dedicated to the participants. It is often not easy for many of us to find directions and addresses in foreign countries where often language barriers can difficult travelers. The maps and tips provided look really good!

We have been very pleased with all the support we have received from all members of the team. Many of you (team members) will not physically participate in the course but have been deeply involved and dedicated to prepare hand outs, presentations, leaflets, questionnaires and so much background work. It has been great to work with such a good team (although sometimes it can take several email exchanges until a consensus is reached…)  

We are looking forward to meet all of you (participants and colleagues) in a few days!

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Back to work

We are (at least some of us) back to work, catching up with what needs to be done in the next few months. The project is finishing in nearly 4 months and still so much to be done… We are trying not to panic, but deal with it step by step.

Last checks on seed crops

The current step is the final check of each crop page by the crop leaders. We have received items to update for chickpea, wheat and ongoing on rice. We are still waiting for the updates on the other crops. I realize that this time of the year is not good as many of you are on leave, but still hope for timely responses…

Re-shaping the pages of clonal crops

This part of the work is still very slow as I am concentrating on the urgent upcoming issues for the Korea workshop (see details below). I am still ‘digging’ through and uncertain how to move forward on the clonal crops.

Korea workshop

The next big step is the first testing of the website face to face during the upcoming “International Training Course for Plant Genetic Resources and Genebank Management” to be held in Suwon, Korea during September 7-18, 2009. This will be a great opportunity to evaluate the content and navigability of the site we are creating and get lots of feedback from several users.

Participants are coming from several Asian countries and different backgrounds and are eager to learn and participate. From the 15 participants invited, 12 responded so far to the preliminary questionnaire sent to them, to gather more detailed information about their background so we could better design the workshop sessions for them. This was a great response! We are looking forward to meet all of them in a few weeks and to work together for a few days.

I just got my visa to Korea, after being interviewed at the embassy yesterday and looking forward to visit Korea again. I was in Seoul in 2006 presenting a poster on the 27th International Horticultural Congress of the prestigious International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS). That was an amazing event that had more than 1000 participants and exciting presentations of the latest scientific agricultural outcomes. I was greatly impressed with the high standards of living in Korea, the people’s education and the progress they have at various levels. I will have an opportunity to eat kimchi (a traditional sort of cabbage pickle, a must of every local meal) again!

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