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HERS-EA Third Academy Urges Women Leaders to Soar!

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The Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa (HERS-EA) Third Academy got off to a flying start on Monday, 1st July 2019 with women leaders drawn from various institutions in Uganda and abroad being urged to let go of all burdens so as to soar professionally and academically. Set to be held under the theme: Enabling you soar to new heights, the week-long academy got off with an opening ceremony presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and a keynote address delivered by Prof. Judith White, Former President and Executive Director, HERS-USA.

Welcoming participants and facilitators to the opening ceremony, HERS-USA Alumnus and HERS-EA Coordinator, Ms. Naomi Lumutenga could not help but express the inner joy that came with holding the Third Academy. This, she noted, was a giant leap forward from the humble beginnings of the East Africa Chapter in 2014 as an affiliate of HERS based in Denver, Colorado, USA.

HERS-EA provides intensive residential leadership and management development training focused on women, mainly in higher education institutions and administration. “This week, you will listen to presentations by seasoned women who have a wealth of knowledge and experience but above all else, they are willing to share it freely” added Ms. Lumutenga.

The HERS-EA coordinator further urged participants to view the Academy as a space to develop ‘take home’ skills as well as think through a leadership project, which will be nurtured and refined at the Academy and hopefully, be implemented at their home institutions. “To help you keep record of this, you will be issued with a journal to use during the week and we hope that you will continue to update it when you leave the Academy.”

The curriculum for the Third Academy will be broken down into the three main areas of; Institutional Development which will cover managing and leading change among other topics as well as Personal Development with topics such as professional women’s economic empowerment through enterprise development and management for profit maximization. The curriculum will thirdly cover Networking, with sessions on personal growth and professional development and many others.
 
Addressing the gathering, the Chairperson HERS-EA Dr. Ruth Muwazi whose enthusiasm outweighed the fact that she had retired from Makerere University service in 2018, shared that her organisation was committed to raising the proportion of women in leadership and managerial positions in Higher Education Institutions, the same way she and a few others were empowered.

“We want to be a resource for developing women leaders in Higher Education and other Institutions” she enthused. “Our HERS cohort that trained in South Africa was helpless until Prof. Margaret Khaitsa, Dr. Florence Wakoko-Studstill and Ms. Naomi Lumutenga came along and brought us together to form HERS-EA. I may be a little soft spoken but HERS has taught me that no matter what your character is, you are a fighter” added Dr. Muwazi in encouragement.

Delivering his address at the Third Academy, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked Prof. Judith White, Amb. Dr. Gennet Zewide, from Ethiopia, and other facilitators for flying thousands of kilometres to Uganda, so as to empower women leaders in higher education at no cost.

“I also thank Prof. Margaret Khaitsa, Dr. Florence Wakoko-Studstill and Ms. Naomi Lumutenga for being patriotic by leaving the comfort of the Diaspora in the USA and UK to come to their roots and empower women leaders and contribute to socioeconomic transformation in East Africa” added Prof. Nawangwe.

The Vice Chancellor noted that more than thirty years ago, Makerere University took the step to address gender imbalance at the institution by introducing affirmative action, which awarded an additional 1.5points to females who qualified for admission.

“When I came to Makerere University there was no female member of staff and only one female student in the then Faculty of Technology” noted the Vice Chancellor, adding that ratios had significantly improved since then.

“We have therefore made a contribution to addressing the gender imbalance not only at Makerere University but also the entire country. It is not an easy task to erase the injustices of gender imbalance that have been practiced over time but we are aware that we need to do more and are committed” added Prof. Nawangwe.

He further reassured HERS-EA of Makerere University’s support in as far as training women leaders for socioeconomic transformation is concerned. “The only way we will emancipate our people from poverty is by ensuring that the gender that makes up the majority of our population is empowered to make a greater contribution to our countries’ economic development.”

Kicking off her address, the energetic Prof. Judith White who made use of a number of props shared that there was no better way to commemorate one year since retiring as Executive Director of HERS-USA than to deliver the keynote at the HERS-EA Third Academy hosted by Makerere University.
 
“Today we have an incredible assembly of wonderful women. You all come with a story of what empowered you and HERS will give you a chance to think about how to exercise leadership in the institutions you come from; you are now part of HERS’ soaring sisterhood” exuded Prof. White.

Prof. White’s keynote address then took on a historical tone for she deemed it was important that “we all need to think about our relationships in terms of history.” She then took her audience back to 1972; a turning point in her life marked by three events namely; the passing of Title IX, the founding of HERS and her graduation from Princeton University.

The passing of Title IX; a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, as part of the education amendments of 1972 in the USA mandated the delivery of education to women such as Prof. White and people of colour. As such, she was able to ‘legitimately’ graduate along with the last group of men in the hitherto male-dominated graduation since the University’s founding in 1746.

Citing Women of influence, Women of vision: a cross-generational study of leaders and social change by Astin Helen and other authors, gave a sneak peek into the categories of women such as; Instigators and Inheritors whom she would expound more on during her sessions on Personal Development. She then went on to share some valuable lessons learnt over thirteen years of interaction with over two thousand women at HERS.

“You have to be strong” she started off, before quickly adding. “Make sure that you are using your strengths in ways that you want or else others will use your strengths in ways that they want.”

“Soaring takes sight” she continued on to the second lesson. “Soaring takes vision, insight and foresight. Whatever goes up does not stay up forever; it must come down. Plan for a soft landing: you don’t plan for if it happens; for it surely will, plan for when it happens. You want to always have a soft landing”

She then went on to tackle the third and possibly most important lesson. “Flight takes lightness; a lightness of spirit. You will have scars, sad moments and feeling that you have been let down, betrayed and not properly appreciated. The best way to stay light, to take the burden away is to share. Find other women with whom to soar… it is by finding strong women to surround yourself with that you will soar,” concluded Prof. White, the audience simultaneously according her rapturous applause.

The barriers to female advancement in higher education are not the preserve of developing countries. Nevertheless factors like strong cultural influence, segregation according to caste, socioeconomic background and institutional biases make them more endemic in Africa and Asia. There was therefore no better candidate to deliver a presentation on the aforementioned than Amb. Dr. Gennet Zewide, who has in the past served as Ambassador of Ethiopia to India; Chair Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and Minister of Education for Ethiopia.

Dr. Zewide whose PhD focused on the impact of education on women appreciated the role of FAWE in mentoring her as a female professional and underscored the importance of successful senior career women in uplifting their junior peers. She noted that the mindset of women not being decision makers was so entrenched in society, that in her personal experience, she rejected the first callup to serve as Minister of Education for Ethiopia, only agreeing after a few weeks of dealing with her deeply rooted fears. She went on to serve as Minister for thirteen years between 1992 and 2005.

Citing the caste system of India the former Ambassador of Ethiopia to India from 2006 to 2016 observed that women in certain jurisdictions face even greater barriers in advancement in higher education due to belonging to particular certain caste. She noted that it is important that affirmative action trickles even further down in such societies.

Borrowing from personal experience as a former academic and mother, she shared that society unknowingly expects women to not only perform as per their job descriptions but to also excel in order to be recognized. “As a mother, I had to bring my two daughters to my workplace whenever I had classes to teach in the evening and keep checking that they were doing their home work. I also had negotiated with students of my early morning classes to push them into mid morning because as a mother, I could not make it to work early enough!”

Dr. Zewide therefore urged the women to use their job placements to break the stereotypes of men as sole breadwinners and women as only being capable of home keeping. “I found it hard to convince my daughter who was in Grade 3 at the time that I had to work because her school textbooks portrayed women solely as the nurses, maids, cleaners and not bread winners. As soon as I became Minister, I made sure that this stereotype was changed in our children’s textbooks.”

Makerere University enjoys a good reputation as the champion of gender mainstreaming in the region. Delivering a presentation on Gender Mainsteraming: Situation analysis of the host university, the Director Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine shared that Makerere’s first women studies programme was launched in 1991. This was however not without incidence as the first cohort was constantly asked why they were studying women.

Dr. Mugisha Baine however noted that rather than offend, this lingering question brought to light the need to progress from simply teaching and conducting research about women and gender to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Makerere University.

“The Gender Mainstreaming Programme was approved by Senate and Council in 2001 and since 2000, institutionalization of gender as a cross cutting theme, has been a priority area in the University’s Strategic Plans” added Dr. Mugisha Baine.

On the research and innovation front, the Director noted that Makerere’s Gender Mainstreaming Programme (GMP) supports gender focused research and publications. She noted that although publishing in high impact journals lends credence to Makerere as an academic institution, research that leads to socioeconomic transformation was increasingly being promoted as part of institutional relevance to society. “This is where our Gender Mainstreaming Programme links up well with the HERS-EA model to bridge the gap between women in higher education and those at the grassroots.”

Dr. Mugisha Baine further noted that Makerere University was one of the institutions that was compliant with the Public Finance, Management Act because it is keen on addressing gender and equity concerns in the budget making processes. “We however have to go beyond simply budgeting and ensuring that gender-specific interventions are seen to their successful end.”

The HERS-EA Third Academy will run until Saturday, 6th July 2019, where participants will on the final day of training, be tipped on the how to land that much-desired job.

Article by Public Relations Office.

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted.   President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.

President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims. 

Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.

By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.  

The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.

Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.

Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.

Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.

The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.

The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.  

At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.

“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.

On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.

“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.

Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.  

She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.   

Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.

She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.  

On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”

At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.

She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.

“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.

Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.

Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.

He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”

Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.

Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”

Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.

“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.

The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”

She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.   

The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25.  For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.

Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.

Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY

Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG

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