More than 500 alumni of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) visited the headquarters office in Los Baños, Laguna, last April during IRRI’s alumni homecoming celebrations. They traveled from the United States, Middle East, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and all across Asia, including India, Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Taiwan. And, of course, the largest contingency of alumni came from IRRI’s host country, the Philippines.
IRRI alumnus Dr. Ronnie Coffman, international professor of plant breeding and genetics, and director of International Programs at Cornell University, said that the IRRI alumni homecoming “was a wonderful opportunity to reunite with old friends and colleagues but, more importantly, a forward-looking event that drew on the experience of IRRI’s alumni in considering the future of rice research.”
The positive energy of all the organizers, alumni, and current staff resulted in a week of vibrant activities and interactions. There were open houses to view research and other facilities, field site tours, a barrio fiesta, art exhibition, nostalgic display and videos, rice harvesting, presentations about IRRI and various science topics, and much more.
Two important ceremonial events were the unveiling of two sets of markers: the historical markers celebrating IRRI’s 50th anniversary and the plaques listing IRRI’s pioneers (the former board and staff members of IRRI who served from 1960 to 1962).
During the unveiling ceremony, Mr. Faustino Salacup, one of the IRRI pioneers, noted that, on the list, “You can see the names of individuals who have been recognized by national academies of science, professional societies, and international organizations for their contribution to the betterment of humanity.”
IRRI would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to IRRI’s 50th anniversary alumni homecoming. It was a great success and we hope the Institute can continue to inspire and support its staff to generate innovative and practical science to improve the welfare of rice farmers and consumers worldwide while maintaining the environmental sustainability of rice production.
Click here to view photos of selected events during IRRI’s 50th anniversary.
Ms. Clayton is the former head of IRRI’s Public Relations team.