One of the most effective strategies for building capacity in a nation is to strengthen its higher education system. It can be argued that the Morrill Land Grant legislation signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 (that legislation created America’s system of land grant institutions) gave a huge boost to the nation’s economic capacity. It democratized higher education (at least partly), and provided public investment in agriculture and science education and research.
Former Senator Richard Lugar, former USDA secretary Dan Glickman, and former USAID administrator Peter McPherson write about the need for public investment in universities as a strategy in international development and foreign policy…and as a vital step in achieving global food security.
From The Hill:
“Without restructured higher education institutions to produce well trained in-country agricultural specialists, U.S. development assistance to the same countries will be required in perpetuity.”
“The best way to revitalize higher education in countries suffering from high levels of poverty and chronic hunger is the proven mechanism of partnership between higher education institutions in developing countries and the United States. A great example is the USAID-funded partnership between Tanzania’s Sokoine Agricultural University and The Ohio State University. This partnership is transforming Sokoine into an institution that produces graduates who will have the skills to meet the private and public sector needs in food systems. The developing world needs more partnerships of this kind, focused on building the capacity of institutions of higher education. U.S. universities have an unparalleled ability to help transform institutions of higher education in developing nations if policymakers make it a priority.”