Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and Hung Nguyen, co-leader of ILRI’s Animal Human Health program, have been recognized by the Vietnamese government for their contributions to agricultural research and development in the country.
They were awarded the ‘Medal for contribution to the cause of agriculture and rural development’ by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) at a ceremony on 3 August in Hanoi. This is the highest honor given by Vietnam’s MARD to individuals (mostly foreigners) who have made outstanding contributions to the agriculture and rural sector of the country.
Vice Minister Phung Duc Tien said that the MARD appreciated ILRI’s contributions in agriculture development in Vietnam, especially in the fields of food safety, value chains, One Health and capacity development. ‘This medal recognizes these individuals and ILRI’s contributions toward food security in Vietnam,’ he said.
In 2000s, Smith worked for the World Bank and supported Vietnam’s fight against avian influenza. During his mandate as ILRI’s director general since 2011, he has supported Vietnam through funding mobilization for tens of projects in the country that have addressed pressing challenges in the agriculture sector such as animal health, food safety, genetics, livestock value chains and zoonotic diseases, among others.
From 2014 to 2020, Nguyen worked as the ILRI’s regional representative for East and Southeast Asia. In this position, he helped strengthen the partnership between ILRI and various state agencies, academia, international partners and the private sector, which facilitated the implementation of research outcomes in Vietnam and the Southeast Asia region. Nguyen was appointed co-leader of ILRI’s Animal Human Health program in 2020 and is now based in Kenya. He leads the CGIAR initiative on ‘Protecting human health through a One Health approach’ (2022-2024), which is addressing the risks of infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and food safety in Vietnam and six other countries in Asia and Africa.
Speaking at the ceremony, Smith affirmed ILRI’s commitment to helping Vietnam tackle strategically important livestock development challenges. ‘We look forward to continuing close cooperation with the government, agencies and companies in this vibrant country,’ he said. Recent contributions of ILRI’s work in Vietnam include supporting sustainable farming and livestock production, transforming food systems sustainably and promoting One Health.
The award ceremony was attended by leaders and representatives from government ministries, universities, institutes, international partners and embassies.
Click the link to read more about the ceremony on news agencies in Vietnam.