Monday, April 27, 2015

Virginia Tech welcomes 10 Humphrey Fellows from 8 countries

Khim Ghale, a journalist from Nepal, talks with Blacksburg Councilwoman Leslie Hager-Smith during a reception for the Humphrey Fellows at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.
Khim Ghale has worked as an editor and district bureau chief for the largest Nepali language newspaper in Nepal. But like his colleagues in the United States and elsewhere, he is anxious about the future of journalism.

As a Humphrey Fellow, Ghale will spend a year in the United States developing his leadership skills and studying ways to marry modern technology and traditional journalism. First, though, he'll spend the next four months with nine other Fellows improving their English at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute.

Read the full story at VT News.

Former LCI students' award-winning project offers hope for Haiti

Former Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute student Junior Beauvais
The mayi tchaka Junior Beauvais eats when he returns to the rural Haitian village where he was born tastes nothing like the flavorful corn and bean stew his grandmother used to serve.

The recipe hasn't changed. What has, he says, is the quality of the corn and beans.

For generations, farmers in the mountainous village of Fondwa, a narrow strip of a community about two hours southwest of Port-au-Prince, provided food for their community by growing heirloom corn, peas, and sorghum.

Starting in the 1980s, though, the region has been flooded by genetically modified seeds distributed for free by nongovernmental organizations. Taking advantage of the cheap seeds, Haitian farmers quickly sold off their heirloom seeds and planted the modified ones.

According to Beauvais, this switch has had negative long-term consequences. The modified seeds, unsuitable to the terrain, aren't nearly as productive as the heirloom varieties. Crop yields have dramatically decreased, wrecking Fondwa's economy and creating health problems and malnutrition. In addition, the hybrid crops don't produce seeds that can be saved, forcing farmers to buy more each season.

Those who have tried to switch back to the heirloom seeds, however, have found that they are nowhere to be found. Beauvais had an award-winning idea to change that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Students see the cherry trees blossoming in Washington, D.C.

Students, teachers, and staff from the National Capital Region recently toured some of the many monuments around Washington, D.C., and saw the beautiful cherry blossoms.

See more of their photos and read their accounts of the trip below.