Saturday, January 24th, 2009

The Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research (YPARD) was launched in November 2006 to serve as a global platform through which young professionals can express their ideas and realise their full potential towards a dynamic agricultural research for development.

I firmly believe agricultural research needs young, capable, motivated professionals, so I have been supporting the group by offering training opportunities, mentoring…..helping in any way we can.

Now we are trying to identify good candidates for their Steering Committee, to help guide this group of young professionals. Below is the call….

“The YPARD Steering Committee is looking for a new steering committee member. Are you interested to contribute actively to a growing YPARD and help steering the strategic development of YPARD? Help YPARD achieve its ambitious goals with your commitment as a new SC member!

An SC member is expected to voluntarily work and communicate electronically for 1-2 days per month, and participate for about 1 week per year in the annual SC meeting and one or more ARD related events to represent YPARD. The functioning and role of the SC are described below, copied from the Charter that is also available on the website. The following items should be considered as they are important for the SC to select a new member:

1) Being a YPARD member and committed to YPARD

2) Having strongly supported YPARD till now

3) Good knowledge of ARD environment

4) Good knowledge of the working language of YPARD, English

To manifest your interest to serve as SC member, please send a letter of motivation plus a max. 2 page CV and, chair and vice-chair of YPARD. The SC will screen all received files and invite a suitable SC member to complement the present team. Please send your files until 8.February 2009.”

In November 08 I posted: CGIAR, Change and another way to look at it! where I used Wordle to give an visual representation of what people were discussing in the CGIAR Change management blog.

I thought I would use Wordle again and use the feeds from the ShareFair blog on ICT-KM

Sharefair through Wordle

Sharefair through Wordle

A picture is worth a thousand words…

The ShareFair 09 has just come to a close. Months of preparations, negotiations, discussions, worrying whether this was a good decision, will people come, will they understand?….

When Mrs. Williams, Assistant Director General for the Knowledge Department in FAO declared the ShareFair closed, I had shivers down my back, and more so when the crowd in the Green Room spontaneously clapped seeing the names of all the people who contributed to the Fair and its success displayed on the screen in the closing ceremony. It was done..a job well done by all of us. We should all feel very proud!

Only 3 days earlier I was sitting in the main podium of the Plenary Hall trying to explain in two minutes that knowledge sharing was just a way of doing things smarter.

Three days of ShareFair…what are my 3 take home messages:

– You cannot manage knowledge, let is flow, let it grow. Allow others to stand “on the shoulders of the giants”.

– Given the chance, people are eager to share and learn. Reward those who ‘dare to share’.

– People speak differently when they speak to their superiors. Create a safe space where they can talk, express their ideas, their creative juice. Let them grow, your organization will only benefit from it.

Usually at the end of such an intense period, you feel a certain anticlimax. This time it has not happened to me, I still feel the buzz of people walking along the corridors, meeting and talking to people they had not talked to before, even if they worked in the same organizations for years, finding out they had similar issues and together they could find solutions. People asking “when can we do this again”? What else can we, as organizers, ask for?

A heartfelt “thank you” goes to all who worked so hard to make this possible, from the steering committee, to the management who “dared” to support such an event and be ready to ‘face the consequences’, to my fellow CGIAR colleagues who traveled from afar to participate, to the volunteers, the translators, all the unsung heroes….

It is never fair to try and single out a person….but if I were pushed to do so, no hesitation. Gauri Salokhe, an information management officer in FAO, who worked so hard, so relentlessly, so creatively and always with a smile. She has been dubbed by a fellow Steering committee member as the “Saint of the Fair” a title well deserved!

Keep up the energy, we started a movement and we must keep it up!