The Fulbright Program aims to build lasting connections between people in the U.S. and those in other countries. More than 400 U.S. citizens participate in the specialist program each year, traveling abroad to share their expertise at various institutions. Participants are selected based on their academic and professional achievements, leadership in their field, and potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
Through the program, Acker will travel to Greece for 15 days this month and for 20 days in the spring of 2023 to work with individuals at Perrotis College at the American Farm School of Thessaloniki. He will focus on reimagining Greek food and agriculture sectors in anticipation of major shifts in consumer preferences, advances in production technologies and climate change, as well as identifying critical educational programs to prepare the future workforce for those anticipated changes.
“It’s going to be all about bringing people together to do some creative thinking for the future and thinking about global challenges we will all need to address,” Acker said.
His selection as a Fulbright Specialist was a full-circle moment. Acker began his professional career in Greece in 1975, where he later served as a Fulbright Scholar in 1987.
“These experiences are natural bookends to the core of my career,” Acker said. “This opportunity has helped me think about my professional life and ways we can all better promote cross cultural and international understanding.”
Since Iowa State sends large numbers of students to Greece to study and complete internships, Acker will use his time there to further relationships between Iowa State and institutions in Greece.