Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rachel Storch goes international wonk in Brazil

This is state Rep. Rachel Storch meeting last week with Unica, the Brazilian trade association for sugar cane, about sugar-based ethanol, which Rachel found "incredibly interesting" but (God bless her) she's a little wonky like that.

Rachel is in the bottom half of the Americas these days on a fellowship that sends 12 mid-career professionals abroad each year to seek out global partnerships and to bring the fruit of the fellowship back home to the community.

"We each choose our country and area of study," Storch writes from Brazil, after being nudged for an account of herself. "I will be primarily in Brazil, but also Uruguay and Argentina to study renewable energy and biotechnology. Brazil is considered energy-independent because of its use of sugar-based ethanol. My goal is to see where the U.S. can either partner with or learn from South America to stimulate the economy and support the environment."
She said in the past the Eisenhower fellowship program has drawn fellows from Philadelphia (where the foundation is based), Boston, and the Research Triangle in North Carolina. Last year, St. Louis was added, basically because John McDonnell founded an International Institute at Washington University, so there will be a local hub to receive multi-national fellows during their stay in the U.S.

Also in Rachel's fellowship class is Stephanie Pope from Boeing (Ireland), Albert Mitchell from Monsanto (South Africa), Mike Train from Emerson (Saudi Arabia), and Rob Freund from the Regional Health Commission (China). She is part of the 2007 fellowship group, though her participation was deferred by the election. Besides running for reelection as state rep, Rachel chaired the Democratic effort to take back the state House and posted some gains.

The 2008 class (she thinks) includes Michael McMillan, Michelle Sherod, Kevin Gunn, Missouri Treasurer-elect Clint Zweifel, and "a guy from Ameren".

Storch reports, "It is an introduction to an incredible network. The fellows I have met include a doctor from Kenya who started the first women and children's hospital in East Africa (treats people with HIV and AIDS as well as victims of domestic violence); the spokesperson for the EU on all issues of science and technology; a young Senator from Colombia, etc."

Though far from home and the (a'hem) Obama revolution, she is still feeling some Obama love. She writes, "It is very nice to see that Brazilians seem to universally support Barack Obama. They share our deep hope that he will lead the U.S. and the world in a new direction that will provide global peace and opportunity."

That would be, like, cool.

1 comment:

Torchandtonic said...

Rachel S-Torch (I like the name...) might also look towards Cuba. Hopefully Obama will open us up to Cuba and we can help Cuba (and Cuba can help us) with their Sugarcane for ethanol. It is much better than the corn ethanol and produces less waste. I will volunteer to go to Cuba to help her when it becomes open again......who wants to come with me? :)