It’s a small world!
Patrick Van Damme, a professor of tropical agronomy at Ghent University beloved by my Belgian colleagues at ICRAF, has become the first ever foreign national to be named Dean of a faculty at CZU, the Czech University of Life Sciences. Patrick, who started teaching ethnobotany at the CZU’s Institute of tropics and subtropics over a decade ago, is now Dean of the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences in Prague. "I thought Prague was an interesting entry point into this part of Europe and I enjoyed my stays here. Later on, the idea was introduced to me whether I would like to invest myself more in the internationalisation efforts of the faculty, and why not go for the position of dean."
As the new dean, Professor Van Damme plans to consolidate the faculty's international ranking and further develop its international mandate. He also promises to bring in a shift towards more emphasis on contribution to society as an alternative to the current focus on the number of published peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.
As luck would have it, it is the Czech University of Life Sciences that welcomed IUAF, the International Union of Agroforestry in its buildings, provided it with offices, and facilitated the administrative steps required to formally register IUAF. So it is in the name of IUAF and EURAF that we write: welcome, Patrick!