Mr Jaime Haddad Sánchez de Cuesto, Undersecretary of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment and Mr Joaquín Olona, Minister for Rural Development and Sustainability of the Government of Aragon, highlighted the 50-year old history of IAMZ and its capacity to train future leaders in the Mediterranean in the fields offood and agriculture. Senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports together with representatives from the main institutions in Aragon and the Universitties of Zaragoza, Cordoba and alicante were also present.
Following the welcome speech, the Director of the CIHEAM Institute of Zaragoza, Javier Sierra, presented the training activities programmed for this academic year, stressing the importance of innovation and new technologies in the agro-food sector and how both MSc programmes and advanced courses at the Institute are constantly improving to reflect the latest trends.
During the event, two keynote speeches were delivered by J. Wolfert, Scientific of the IoF2020 project and reputed researcher from Wageningen University speaking on how the internet of things and big data are transforming agriculture in Europe and José Mª de Lasala, Mercadona´s Director for Institutional Relations in Aragón and Castilla León, on Mercadona's innovation model.
To conclude the event, the CIHEAM Award for the best MSc Thesis for 2016 was bestowed on Najla Ksouri, IAMZ 2014-16 student in Plant Breeding. The closing speech was delivered by Mr Jaime Haddad Sánchez de Cueto, Undersecretary of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment.