First Group of Iowa High School Students, Educators Travel to Kosovo as Part of New International Collaboration

posted on Monday, October 22, 2018 in  College News

PRISHTINA, KOSOVO—Students and educators from five Iowa high schools recently spent a week in Kosovo, collaborating with local schools and government officials as part of a new innovative partnership to improve agricultural education both in Iowa and abroad.

The group traveled to Kosovo September 23-30, 2018 kicking off a partnership first envisioned by former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Kosovo’s former Minister of Agriculture, Memli Krasniqi. It was organized by the Global Agriculture Learning Center at Hawkeye Community College, Iowa Sister States, the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa FFA Association, the Iowa FFA Foundation, and the Consulate of the Republic of Kosovo in Des Moines.

“This was a transformative experience for both students and educators,” said Brad Kinsinger, director of the Global Agriculture Learning Center at Hawkeye Community College. “It is providing a platform to exchange and share practices and ideas to improve agricultural education in Kosovo and right here in Iowa.”

Iowa schools are paired with counterparts in Kosovo, creating a collaborative network to study agricultural systems and challenges, and generate ideas for new sustainable practices. Several days of the weeklong trip included the high school students and educators spending time with their partner schools to build relationships and get a sense of what agricultural education looks like in Kosovo.

”This program was an amazing opportunity to build global understanding both in Iowa and Kosovo,” said Cindy Snell, an agriculture teacher with Waukee Community Schools. “Our lives will not be the same after an experience like this.”

While in Prishtina, the group met with representatives from the ministries of agriculture; education; and youth, culture, and sport. They also toured local farms and agricultural businesses with representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), including a dairy, an orchard, and a greenhouse.

“I am so glad and fortunate to have had this experience,” said Josie Houser, a student at Pleasantville High School. “Getting to go to Kosovo was eye opening…It was the people that made this trip such a great experience.”

The collaboration will continue with regular conversations between students and educators in Iowa and Kosovo, leading up to a stateside visit from the Kosovar delegation in April 2019.

“It’s incredible to see the impact this experience is having on students and educators here in Iowa and in Kosovo,” Kinsinger said. “This was the first international experience for these Iowa high school students, and to see them grow both academically and personally is extremely rewarding. This is just the beginning of collaboration with agricultural education programs in Kosovo and Iowa to improve agricultural education here and abroad. We’re excited to see how this program continues to grow with Kosovo and with other countries around the globe.”

Kosovo Trip Participants

Iowa High School Participants Partner School in Kosovo
Oelwein High School Dan Doeing, educator
Aly Duffy, student
Independence High School Michael Haden, educator
Avery Hanaway, student
Union High School Louis Beck, educator
Karson Hennings, student
Pleasantville High School Monty Collins, educator
Josie Houser, student
Waukee High School Cindy Snell, educator
Renee Piekema, student

Photo caption: "Group Photo—Iowa to Kosovo" Front (L to R): High school students Avery Hanaway (Independence), Josie Houser (Pleasantville), Renee Piekema (Waukee), Aly Duffy (Oelwein), Karson Hennings (Union), and Hawkeye Community College student Morgan Lauer. Back: Brad Kinsinger, director of the Global Agriculture Learning Center at Hawkeye Community College, with high school educators (L to R) Michael Haden (Independence), Monty Collins (Pleasantville), Cindy Snell (Waukee), Dan Doeing (Oelwein), and Louis Beck (Union).

For more information about this program, contact Brad Kinsinger at 319-296-2329, ext.1321, or


  1. Agriculture
  2. Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. Global Agriculture Learning Center
  4. Iowa Sister States
  5. Kosovo
  6. Study Abroad
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