Global Talent

Dan Clay & Gerardine Mukeshimana


Michigan State University’s contributions to agriculture are well-known. Talented researchers and graduates, their work and discoveries are reaching well beyond their inherent value and into the realm of societal change around the world. Professor Dan Clay’s research in Rwanda supports specialty coffee value chain development, which has become a large part of the country’s economic reconstruction post-genocide.

Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwanda

Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwanda

A fellow Spartan, alumna Gerardine Mukeshimana is the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda. Mukeshimana was recognized in 2012 by the U.S. Agency for International Development for her significant contributions to the breeding of the common bean for drought tolerance and disease resistance. Mukeshimana earned her Doctorate in 2012 from MSU’s Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology program.


“We are known all over the world that we are producing good quality coffee but we cannot supply consistently enough the amount that the world needs. It’s important that we invest into increasing the amount of production,” said Mukeshimana.

Clay and his team partnered with other universities and organizations to create PEARL, the Partnership to Enhance Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages, in 2000. The program helps Rwandan smallholder producers to increase the value of their harvest and, therefore, their profits, utilizing best production and processing practices and technologies to meet the demands of global specialty coffee markets. The end result is a specialty coffee purchased by companies around the world.

Feature Photo Image: Dan Clay, Michigan State University