Arizona State University (USA), Gandhi Research Foundation (India), and Jain Irrigation Systems, Ltd. (multinational company headquartered in India) have partnered to create EmPeace LABS (Empowerment for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability), a training and leadership program committed to building a strong foundation for global peace by preparing young professionals for leadership in agri-business and sustainability. This unique project will create a global network that supports the realization of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by connecting agricultural and capacity-building organizations with community leaders from participating countries.
To reach its stated goals, EmPeace LABS has created a leadership training system tailored for success in developing countries. Working in partnership with local communities, government, and non-government organizations, EmPeace LABS will select young leaders from the Global South to initiate and implement community projects in their home regions that are designed to encourage sustainable development through agricultural innovation.
First, selected young leaders will be trained in agricultural technologies and community leadership at a series of annual international leadership workshops held in Jalgaon (India) and hosted by Jain Irrigation Systems, Ltd. In addition to providing opportunities for education and certification, these workshops will hold forums for cross-fertilization of ideas and best practices. They will serve as launching points for dissemination of project results for sustainable development and peace-building organizations across the world. The workshop program will include modules that teach participants to "train the trainer," expanding the impact of EmPeace LABS programs to communities throughout the participant's home region.
Participants of EmPeace LABS annual workshops will collaborate with community organizations and governments in their countries to co-design and implement (with the support of EmPeace LABS Network) local training workshops that introduce innovative agricultural technologies to villages. Initially, such countries as India, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, and Nigeria will be included. As the project develops, other countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America would be added. Participants of local workshops will be expected to design new community projects and will be supported in their implementation by individual mentors expert in agribusiness and sustainability. They will be backed by a global network of researchers, innovators, and practitioners committed to leveraging natural and human resources to build sustainable village communities.
The EmPeace LABS approach combines hands-on experience with multicultural exchange of solutions and visions, addressing existing community needs and promoting collaboration among communities, governments, universities, and businesses. Most importantly, EmPeace LABS reinforces individual creativity and innovation in developing community projects and businesses related to agriculture and offers the opportunity for young leaders to make a positive impact in their communities. The EmPeace LABS model is therefore designed replicable, measurable and sustainable across contexts and communities.
The project is coordinated by the University-Community Partnership for Social Action Research (UCP-SARnet), a global community of over 1,300 researchers, community professionals and students. It is managed by multiple administrative units and departments at Arizona State University: Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, School of Sustainability, School of Social Work, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, School of Community Development and Resources, Global Resolve, and the Department of Psychology.
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