Senior ECPA Fellows Program Receives Positive Reviews from State Department

Thursday, June 13, 2013
ECPA Fellow Janaki Alavalapati visited Belize in November of 2012 to lead a collaborative initiative between Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation and the University of Belize. Through his ECPA Fellowship, Dr. Alavalapati promoted student and faculty exchanges across campuses to share methodology and curriculum around sustainable agri­culture, forest management, and the environment.

A key player in this collaborative effort was Professor Elma Kay, with whom Geoffrey Johnson, the State Department’s Grant Officer Representative for the ECPA Fellows grant, had the opportunity to meet when he traveled to Belize at the beginning of June. Upon Mr. Johnson’s return last week, he shared positive feedback with Partners staff about his visit with Dr. Kay: “we discussed how the relationship between the University of Belize and Virginia Tech came about vis-à-vis Janaki, his colleagues and the Fellows program, and the different issues on which they’re collaborating or looking to collaborate: fire and forest management, skills in the field for young professionals/practitioners, and resource economics.”
As a result of Dr. Alavalapati’s work, environmental leaders and government officials have met for a stakeholder’s forum, field visit to the Yalbec Forest, and a round table discussion to address the needs and priorities within forest management in Belize. Since these discussions, a fire management course has been established at the University of Belize with much success.
Forest Management Course, University of Belize
To read more about the important connections Dr. Alavalapati is making between Virginia and Belize, click here.