Dr Rodney D Cooke: new Director of CTA
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CTA. 1995. Dr Rodney D Cooke: new Director of CTA. Spore 59. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47147
CTA's newly-appointed Director Dr Rodney D Cooke, who is from Britain, took up his duties on a continuing basis in August. Two months earlier he had joined the Centre to participate in the 1995 annual Advisory Committee meeting and the subsequent...
CTA's newly-appointed Director Dr Rodney D Cooke, who is from Britain, took up his duties on a continuing basis in August. Two months earlier he had joined the Centre to participate in the 1995 annual Advisory Committee meeting and the subsequent CTA seminar on 'The Future Role of Information for Rural Development in ACP Countries' which was held in Montpellier, France. Here Spore provides some background information about Dr Cooke and his initial observations on the challenges now facing the Centre. CTA's new Director arrives at a critical juncture: various internal and external evaluations of CTA's activities have recently been completed and the Montpellier seminar has highlighted some of the expected trends in the next ten years concerning the role of information in rural development. Dr Cooke observed on his arrival in August that 'there are many opportunities and challenges which should enable CTA to further strengthen its services to ACP countries in support of their agriculture and rural development objectives.' Dr Cooke is well-placed to address these challenges. Since obtaining a PhD in protein chemistry and enzymology from the University of Bristol, UK, he has gained twenty-two years of experience in different aspects of the renewable natural resources sector and rural development in the tropical world. Initially, he worked for the former Tropical Products Institute of the UK as a Project Leader and Programme Manager, where he was concerned with various applied and adaptive research and technical cooperation programmes concerning post-harvest technologies and agro-industrial development; he was also involved in long-term and short-term overseas assignments in Latin America, Africa and Asia. In consequence, his second language is Spanish. Dr Cooke has a knowledge of Portuguese. but with a Brazilian flavour, and is fluent in French partly as a result of his earlier involvement in European-based projects. These activities led him to work with national, regional and international centres, and in Africa this involved work in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Sudan. From 1989 to 1992 Dr Cooke spent much of his time in the UK as a Deputy Director of Britain's Natural Resources Institute (NRI). A major preoccupation was the need to strengthen mid-term planning processes as that institute became the executive agency of the UK Government's Overseas Development Administration (ODA). Dr Cooke was also responsible for NRI's Finance and Central Services Division. From 1992 to 1995 he headed the Natural Resources Management Division, which covered the institute's technical cooperation and applied research programmes in resource assessment and farming systems: forestry, livestock production, agronomy and cropping systems, natural resources assessment methodologies (remote sensing and GIS approaches) and socio-economic aspects. One of his major responsibilities was to develop and strengthen the institute's partnerships with organizations in the developed and developing worlds. Dr Cooke has authored or coauthored over 60 scientific and technical publications. Key issues which Dr Cooke will be , considering with his staff in the coming months are the changing : characteristics and diversity of local, national and regional agricultural system organizations and their evolving requirements for information; the greater emphasis being placed on communication, i.e. two-way exchanges between organizations, beneficiaries and partners rather than the more usual picture of information flow in one direction; the broader need for information as an aid to decision-making, instead of information simply to advance knowledge and understanding; and the enhanced need for a technology 'foresight' role encompassing both the changing picture of ACP needs and also the rapid development of alternative technologies and products.