MONTICELLO, Ark. — On May 19, Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, visited the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) to meet with faculty, staff and students from the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources (CFANR) at UAM.
Dr. Koudenoukpo, a national of Benin and a Canadian citizen, was the first female forester in West Africa and pioneered ground-breaking initiatives including participatory management of protected areas. She also has a wealth of experience in international development consisting of 32 cumulative years managing complex initiatives across Africa, Latin American and Canada with a focus on the environment, community livelihood and gender equality.
Dr. Koudenoukpo was accompanied at UAM by Dr. Jerome Ngundue, Public Health Preparedness Planner at the Arkansas Department of Health, and Sarah Ngundue, MSN, OCN and nurse practitioner, both of whom contributed public health perspectives to the discussions on forestry during the visit. The trio met with UAM Executive Council members and faculty and staff from the Arkansas Center for Forest Business to discuss how social responsibility, public health, sustainability and advancing technology contribute to forestry economics.
Dr. Koudenoukpo also visited with Arkansas 4-H Forestry Contest participants who were competing in the 4-H junior and senior state competitions on UAM’s campus. She spoke with them about the role of the United Nations in forestry and the importance of sustainability and conservation, and they engaged her with questions regarding her international experiences and role as a female forester.
During a facilitated discussion with faculty, staff and students of CFANR, UAM forestry students introduced their research focus areas to Dr. Koudenoukpo. She offered encouragement to the students and emphasized the importance of promoting research to influence market decisions.
Dr. Michael Blazier, dean of CFANR at UAM, stated, “Dr. Koudenoukpo’s enthusiasm for bringing new and diverse students into forestry is awe-inspiring. She was highly engaging to all the students she met with during her visit, and they expressed their excitement about what they learned from her today. As a testament to her dedication to mentoring students, after one of our forestry students expressed excitement about following in Dr. Koudenoukpo’s footsteps as a female forester, Dr. Koudenoukpo reached out to keep in contact with her as her studies and career progress to provide her with advice. Hosting her in CFANR today has been an honor, and we look forward to working further with her and her office.”
Dr. Peggy Doss, chancellor of UAM, celebrated Dr. Koudenoukpo’s visit to campus, stating, “Dr. Koudenoukpo granted UAM a tremendous opportunity to share the impressive research of the faculty, staff and students of the Arkansas Center for Forest Business and the UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources with an international audience. We thank her and her guests for sharing their time and knowledge with the UAM community. We look forward to future collaborations with Dr. Koudenoukpo and appreciate the opportunity to grow our partnership.”
For more information regarding the visit, contact Dr. Michael Blazier at [email protected] or 870-460-1152.