A Vision for the Future
In the year 2050, a gathering will take place at the Mpirigiti Rural Training Centre in the Kamuli District of Uganda. The purpose of the assembled group will be to open a time capsule from the year 2018.
The time capsule was sealed this past July when I was honored to be present to help dedicate the new training center as part of Iowa State University’s Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods.
For nearly 15 years, we have worked hand-in-hand with the people of the Kamuli District to make their lives better and their prospects brighter through agriculture and education.
The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods has become a model for international university agricultural education programs and for inspiring students to address global hunger and poverty. Our center has impacted thousands of lives in Uganda through programs made possible by private philanthropy — programs that help rural Ugandans gain skills in productive crop and livestock practices, practice proper nutrition and sanitation and explore income-generating and entrepreneurial opportunities.
The Mpirigiti Rural Training Center epitomizes what is possible when the support of nearly 100 donors and Iowa State University’s land-grant mission unite through a passionate, compassionate vision for change and progress.
I felt the spirit of Norman Borlaug with me in Kamuli this past summer, and I intentionally put a reminder of Dr. Borlaug’s great accomplishments in the time capsule. Sealed in the capsule was a letter I wrote to those who will gather in 2050. Here are a few lines from my letter:
In our current world of 2018, we often talk about “2050” as an important date — a time for which we must direct our energies now to ensure that expanding world populations have enough nourishing food to eat and are able to lead healthy, satisfying lives. “Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world” — That’s what Norman Borlaug, a famous Iowan, agricultural scientist and Nobel Prize laureate, once said. We hope 2050 finds that all people have attained this moral right.
Let it be so. It is exciting to imagine the faces of that assembly circling the time capsule in 2050. Will it include Iowa State students and faculty? Their friends and colleagues at Makerere University of Uganda? Local community members? I hope it will be all of the above — and more. Maybe a broader community will have joined forces on the journey toward elimination of hunger and poverty.
Thirty-two years into the future doesn’t seem like very long. But much is possible when you have people with a passionate, compassionate vision. I know for certain that the name of Norman Borlaug and the memory of his outreach and great scientific contributions to humankind will have the power to inspire young and old far into the future.
Its gonna be great when the time capsule is finally opened. The people behind this great adventure into Africa will be lauded and honoured to have impacted the continent in every way. Long live Iowa State long live Iowa State University!
Donald Kugonza | firstname.lastname@example.org | 10/16/2018 5:33 PM