The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology presented the Charles A. Black Award to Kong Luen Heong, March 20, 2003 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Heong is an insect ecologist and integrated pest management specialist at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and in his own words, considers himself lucky to be able to do work “beyond entomology,” in the areas of sociology of farmer decision making and communication.
Within that focus, Dr. Heong has collaborated with numerous other scientists in developing participatory communication strategies using mass media and opinion leaders in order to bridge the knowledge gaps between scientific achievements and farmer practice. In his stakeholder participation approach, Dr. Heong challenges farmers to “see for themselves the benefits of changing a farming practice.” By cultivating participation and local ownership of scientific principles, Dr. Heong creates “win-win” partnerships and mutual understanding.
Dr. Heong received a B.S. in zoology from the University of Malaya, an M.S. in applied entomology from Imperial College, London, and a Ph.D. in systems analysis from the University of London. In 2000 he received a D.Sc. from Imperial College, London, based on his research on integrating sociological aspects into pest management. He has served as president of the Malaysian Plant Protection Society (1987), on the editorial board of three international journals, and as visiting professor at seven universities in Asia. The government of Vietnam honored him in 1996 with the Medal for Agricultural Development, and recently presented the Golden Rice Award to his team. The team also won the St. Andrews Prize for Environment in 2002. Between 1990 and 2000 Dr. Heong was coordinator of the International Network for Rice IPM in Asia. In 2002 he was co-recipient of the Partnering Excellence Medal from Australia for his efforts in promoting quality partnerships among research, extension, nongovernmental organizations, and local governments.
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