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ASU students try to achieve peace through food marketing


February 28, 2007

While many are looking to China and India for growth and opportunities, some ASU faculty and students are looking at the Balkans and Black Sea region, to countries such as Greece and Romania.

Last fall, five ASU students affiliated with the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece, as guests of the American Farm School's Dimitris Perrotis College of Agricultural Studies.

In November, they presented their overseas experiences as part of a grant-funded project through the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness at a symposium involving Morrison School faculty, NAMA student members, scholars from the American Farm School and the University of Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, and representatives from the Arizona agribusiness sector.

The USDA grant funds the “Balkans & Black Sea Project: American-Greek-Romanian Initiatives to Enhance Understanding of Multicultural Market Opportunities, Trade and Development.” The Balkans Project, for short, is intended to produce graduates with knowledge of foreign languages and cultures and the ability to comprehend complex global issues.

The project helps strengthen and establish links among multiple institutions so that universities, businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations in several countries can work cooperatively to enhance understanding and thus to facilitate economic cooperation, export development and sustainable peace, according to Clifford Shultz, ASU Marley Chair and consumer marketing professor at the Polytechnic campus.

The project also brings together agribusiness faculty, students and businesspeople with diverse skill-sets and from multiple countries to collaborate and conduct research on international problems.

“The grant and related grants support students in their efforts to study abroad, helping to prepare more global leaders,” Shultz says.

In addition to benefiting the students, the anticipated outcome of their work is to provide improved trade relations between agribusiness sectors in Arizona and the Balkans-Black Sea region.

“We have been focusing on durum wheat, cotton, general agribusiness and socio-economic development between Arizona and the Balkans-Black Sea region since 1999,” Shultz says. “With this project, we are helping to create sustainable peace and prosperity through food and agribusiness marketing for a region that has seen its share of difficulties.”

For information about the project, visit the Web site (http://agb.poly.asu.edu/balkans).