President Barack Obama appointed a Purdue professor to advise the same organization that was responsible for his education in Ethiopia.
Professor Gebisa Ejeta received a three-year presidential appointment to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, which serves as an advising body to the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Ejeta said the high school and college he attended in Ethiopia were built by a predecessor in the agency.
Joe Anderson, head of the Agronomy department, said he is thrilled Ejeta has a position to provide advice to the agency.
"He is a very effective leader," Anderson said. "He was just named head of the Global Food Security Center on campus."
Anderson described Ejeta's leadership style as trailblazing. He said Ejeta is great at defining what the mission is, where it will progress and how to get from here to there.
Ejeta will advise the agency on topics such as agricultural development priorities and U.S. universities' involvement in famine prevention and freedom from hunger issues around the world.
Anderson said Ejeta strives to help create agricultural systems that are more than just productive. He said Ejeta tries to help agricultural systems that produce things in a way that is economically sound and makes environmental sense as well as enhancing the overall livelihood of the citizens in those countries.
In a press release, Ejeta described the appointment as a privilege and a responsibility.
"I have now gone full-circle, from a young African child given an opportunity for education by an act of a U.S. government body such as this to now having the chance to offer a new vision or a new policy directive that may give a similar chance for an education to another African child or a lifesaving act for another child somewhere," Ejeta said.