Congratulations to the GRÓ LRT fellows of 2023

31 August 2023
GRÓ LRT fellows of 2023 on graduation day. Photo: Rósa Björk Jónsdóttir
GRÓ LRT fellows of 2023 on graduation day. Photo: Rósa Björk Jónsdóttir

The GRÓ Land Restoration Training Programme celebrated the graduation of 23 fellows from GRÓ LRT’s six-month training on 29 August at the Keldnaholt campus of the Agricultural University of Iceland. This is the 16th graduating cohort of GRÓ LRT and the largest one to date.

The 2023 graduating cohort include fellows from eight countries in Africa and Central Asia: Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mongolia, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, and Uganda. Twenty-one fellows came from GRÓ LRT’s partner institutions in respective countries, and two participated as representatives of UNESCO MAB’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, coming from the Omo Biosphere Reserve through the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria. Their participation is part of a GRÓ LRT and UNESCO-MAB cooperation, where GRÓ International Centre for Capacity Development, a UNESCO Category 2 Centre based in Iceland, sponsors annually GRÓ LRT fellowship for two young professionals working for institutions and organisations that are a part of UNESCO MAB’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

At the graduation ceremony, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation, Mr Martin Eyjólfsson, addressed the guests as did the GRÓ LRT Director, Dr Sjöfn Vilhelmsdóttir, and two of the graduating fellows, Ms Aisha Wumpini Abdul-Samad from Ghana and Mr Maksat Miinazarov from Kyrgyzstan. The Chairman of the GRÓ Governing Board, Mr Jón Karl Ólafsson awarded the fellows with the certificates, together with the GRÓ LRT Director. The Rector of the Agricultural University of Iceland, Dr Ragnheiður I Þórarinsdóttir, closed the ceremony. Only 21 of the 23 graduating fellows took part in the ceremony as two were regrettably unable to attend due to illness on the graduation day.

The graduating cohort of 2023 is the second group of fellows to be eligible for ECTS credits. This means that in addition to the GRÓ LRT Certificate of Completion, the fellows can receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Land Management (30 ECTS) from the Faculty of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the Agricultural University of Iceland.

Since the beginning of the Land Restoration Training Programme in 2007, 198 specialists, in the fields of restoration and sustainable land management, have graduated from the annual six-month training programme. Their origins span 14 partner countries, with a gender distribution of 53% men and 47% women.

Congratulation class of 2023!