MSU professor takes new role leading CANR international programs

Karim Maredia, a leader in international development, now heading CANR international efforts with a focus eye on faculty development.

Karim Maredia with children

On a late March 2019 day in Cairo, Egypt, Karim Maredia is on the move. The Michigan State University (MSU) professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) is greeting colleagues and shaking hands with partners on a new project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The short trip, which commemorated the launch of the project, doesn’t allow Maredia to accomplish everything he’d hoped, but the groundwork is being laid for another long-term partnership. It’s here — forging alliances, sharing knowledge and providing access to resources — where Maredia shines.

The five-year, $30 million grant is being led by Cornell University and brings together several institutions from the U.S. and Egypt to create a Center of Excellence in Agriculture in the country.

Maredia, who in May 2019 was named a senior global scholar and director of agriculture and natural resources international programs for CANR, is a principal investigator from MSU.

The MSU team has been tasked with leading the Exchanges, Training and Scholarships portion of the project. Selected MSU faculty members will train faculty and students from Egypt on a wide range of agricultural topics.

“MSU has been working in Egypt for more than two decades,” Maredia said. “We have a lot of longstanding relationships in the country, and that gives us a strong foundation on which to build. We’re fortunate to be a part of a great group of universities and scholars on this grant, which will help Egyptian faculty and students learn new skills that will ultimately benefit agriculture across the country.”

This type of endeavor is nothing new to Maredia. He has spent more than three decades assisting developing countries with capacity building, technology transfer and policymaking.

In addition to United States Agency for International Development, Maredia has been awarded grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

Maredia also serves as the director of the MSU World Technology Access Program, which unites experts from MSU and around the world to deliver short- and long-term trainings, advisory services and consultation on agricultural research and development.

In 2017, Maredia was named the only non-African on the High Level African Panel on Emerging Technologies, which was commissioned to unite scientists from agriculture, public health and natural resources management to discuss ways that new technologies could foster economic growth.

When leaders in CANR began searching for a new director of international efforts in early 2019, Maredia emerged as an obvious choice.

“Karim has been an invaluable contributor to our college’s international presence for many years, and I’m looking forward to his continually evolving leadership in research, outreach and faculty development,” said Ron Hendrick, the dean of CANR. “This appointment is aimed at ensuring international work is woven into as many of our endeavors as possible.”

In his new role, Maredia will continue his international development efforts while looking to further strengthen relationships with governments, development agencies and collaborators worldwide.

He will also spearhead the launch of a global scholars program. The initiative will provide faculty at all levels of experience with opportunities, guidance and mentoring in international teaching, research and outreach. A central responsibility will also be to identify global scholars who will focus on some of the most significant challenges facing agriculture and natural resources, including food security and resource sustainability.

“One of Karim’s many strengths is that he understands and appreciates the complexity of international work,” said Doug Buhler, the director of MSU AgBioResearch and a frequent travel companion of Maredia’s. “We’ve worked together for many years, and I’m always amazed at how adept Karim is at building relationships. It’s a great thing for MSU and our partners that he will be mentoring faculty, leveraging partnerships and passing on his wealth of knowledge.”

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This article was published in In the Field, a yearly magazine produced by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University. To view past issues of In the Field, visit For more information, email Holly Whetstone, editor, at or call 517-355-0123.

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