MISSOULA – A U.S. Department of State exchange program has awarded one of its highest honors to a University of Montana faculty member.
Josh Slotnick, a lecturer in UM’s Environmental Studies Program, received one of four fall 2015 Alumni Impact Awards from the Professional Fellows Program, which brings together emerging leaders from the U.S. and around the world for intensive, short-term fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise.
“The Professional Fellows Program links effective practitioners and academics from around the globe,” Slotnick said. “It’s a great honor to represent UM and the work we do in this group.”
In the first phase of the Professional Fellows Program, American participants host, work with and learn from the foreign Fellows as they gain experience in nonprofit organizations, private sector businesses and government offices across the U.S. During the second phase of the exchange, American participants travel to their counterparts’ home countries to engage in a similar program.
Slotnick hosted Thai participant Payong Srithong in 2013, and traveled to Thailand the following year. He worked with Srithong to create economic opportunities through agriculture for Burmese refugees on the Thai border. After participating in the Professional Fellows Program, Slotnick led an exchange program for UM students in Thailand this past January. The students spent time on several farms, including Srithong’s, which he transformed into a training center following his time in the U.S.
Slotnick, a strong proponent of community-based agriculture, is a co-founder of UM’s Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society (PEAS) and the program’s 10-acre vegetable farm in the Rattlesnake Valley. He also helped establish Missoula’s Garden City Harvest nonprofit.
The program will honor Slotnick and three other award recipients at the Fall 2015 Professional Fellows Congress Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 10-12, in Washington, D.C. During the conference, recipients will have the opportunity to connect and discuss their work with Fellows from around the world.
More information is online at https://alumni.state.gov/highlight/fall-2015-alumni-impact-award-winners-selected-professional-fellows-congress.