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University of Minnesota Extension

Global initiatives

Minnesota is part of an increasingly connected global network, which benefits from exchanges in education, research and development.

Extension engages with scientists, teachers and learners around the world, and with diverse communities at home. Efforts build capacity locally and internationally to enhance livelihoods, while building a national network of professionals with expertise in similar initiatives.

Current efforts are funded through partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, grants from other partners and donor gifts.

Extension Global Initiatives programs meet at least one of three criteria:

  • A Minnesota-based organization is a partner or collaborator
  • The program supports a wider University of Minnesota initiative
  • Unique Extension expertise meets a critical need


Extension's global work began with supporting agricultural exports during and after World War I. In the 1960s and 1970s, a relationship started with Morocco.

The "Minnesota Project" educated nearly 250 Moroccans, who then returned to Morocco to create a world-class research and teaching institute. Many maintain relationships with Minnesota researchers and businesses today. This 1970s photo shows doctoral student Ahmed Zahour (right) and Zahour's adviser, Donald Rasmussen, a U of M world expert in barley.

Extension is frequently invited by other countries to share the model of connecting communities to University research. The model appeals to people because it engages people in their own learning with each other.

Connecting with learners across the globe

Extension Global Initiatives connects University research, education and training to learners in:

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