Members of the diplomatic, research, and private sectors joined IRRI Director General Matthew Morell to honor Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Her Excellency Amanda Gorely, and Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Philippines Her Excellency Aruni Ranaraja last week, for their efforts to progress the global research agenda on agriculture, climate change, and food and nutrition security.
“I would like to commend the excellence and continued dedication of IRRI scientists and staff, under the leadership of Dr. Matthew Morell. The expertise and diversity within IRRI promotes and encourages a generation of innovative ideas, technologies, practices, and systems that goes beyond crop science, which also accounts for important issues such as gender equality, health and nutrition, urbanization, among others,” says Gorely. She noted that the partnership with IRRI “has come full circle” as she moves on to a new mission, having represented the government of Australia at the launch of the Lloyd Evans Plant Growth Facility at IRRI in 2016, during her first month as the country’s head of mission.
The ambassador also gave special importance to IRRI’s contributions in knowledge sharing and capacity development. “I would like to recognize IRRI’s efforts in building capacities of its partner countries and their national research institutions. Capacity building is a development priority shared by the Australian Aid Program. IRRI provides opportunities for young researchers to work alongside renowned scientists to work on collaborative research and bring their learnings and skills, back to their home countries.”
For her part Ambassador Ranaraja expressed high hopes on the heels of the revitalized discussions between Sri-Lanka and IRRI towards the country’s road to rice self sufficiency.
“I’m very pleased that during my tenure in the Philippines, Sri Lanka’s engagement with IRRI has been significantly elevated. The development of Sri Lanka, under the leadership of His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena has undertaken a comprehensive review of the strategy for agriculture advancement in order to overcome challenges in food security with a new deal for agriculture and the rural economy in general. Discussions are ongoing between Sri Lanka and IRRI to finalize the 5-year work plan 2018-2023 to further cement increased collaboration in food and nutrition security on rice-based agrifood systems in Sri Lanka.”’
“To our partners at IRRI, let me ensure you of my continued partnership not only while I’m in the Philippines but also in the future,” the ambassador added.
For Morell, the strategic relationships cultivated among IRRI’s multi-sectoral partners will continue to be a key to IRRI’s future research breakthroughs.
“It’s been a very rewarding 2018. For IRRI, we recognize the importance of our relations with countries across the rice-producing consuming world. The relationships that we’ve built with national governments and institutions, with scientists, and ultimately the communities of those countries, are critical to our mission of improving lives, but also in our effectiveness in translating research into improved outcomes.
Morell also assured IRRI’s diplomatic community of the Institute’s continued commitment to work closely to transform lives in the global rice sector. “You serve as a mechanism of promoting engagement and also communicating with us about your national needs. We encourage further communication and dialogue to ensure that we are very well connected, and we use our presence of our headquarters here in the Philippines to address your national ambitions.”