Diplomats from nearly 60 countries just completed a tour of Iowa. While the trip is focused on agriculture, and included a stop at the Iowa State Fair, education was a key topic of discussion too. Brazilian Ambassador, Antonio Patriota (), said he was aware of Iowa’s agricultural background, but says the education tie-ins caught his interest.
He says the combination of efficient agriculture and education with "great universities" like Iowa State and research centers "is quite unique and very inspiring." Patriota says Iowa is a land-locked state that is comparatively small, but is "doing very well and taking advantage of the possibilities offered by globalization." Patriota says the hospitality was something that also impressed him.
Patriota says he had never been to Iowa, and says the contact with Iowans has been a pleasure. He stayed with families in Carroll, Fort Dodge and Ames. Iowa and Brazil do compete in some areas of agriculture, such as soybean production. But Patriota says there are also links that he would like to expand upon.
He says the next generation of biofuels is an example, where he says Iowa is very advanced and he would like to advance Brazill too. Patriota says he’s already talked with people in Iowa about that. The Ambassador from Barbados, John Beale (like feel), was impressed with the education system in Iowa.
Beale says the education system is interesting because of the linkages between the high schools, community colleges, universities and the business community. He says others need to go that route because it is more relevant to what is happening in today’s world. Beale was also impressed by the agricultural system.
He says he was impressed by the production and yields, as he visited a 1,400 acre farm that was managed by a family of four. "That is unheard of," Beale said. Beale says he’d like to look into the educational opportunities in Iowa.Beale says he would like to do some programs to link to Iowa’s community colleges and universities. He says his daughter is in the engineering program at George Washington University, and he would like her to look at Iowa State.
The diplomats visited as part of the the 12th annual Ambassadors Tour hosted by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Grassley says the tour rarely ends up in signed contracts, but it does open up the access to Iowa for other countries.