Higher education (HE) institutions continuously evolve to meet the needs of students, faculty, and staff to grow as global citizens. The recent pandemic put academic and research programs in stress. International partnerships and collaborations had to adapt to allow existing efforts to continue with many functions shifting to online. However, documentation of efforts and good practices, an indisputable part of the process is sparce or anecdotal. This paper presents information on the LSU – Mendel partnership and how the jointly organized virtual Food Symposium 2021 provided an opportunity for the two universities to adapt and strengthen existing collaborations during the pandemic. We discuss the programmatic efforts highlighting the importance of the strategic partnership and document interest and participation in the symposium. A total of 302 attended the symposium, of which 76% were students. The symposium brought together scientists working on food-related areas including food safety and security, food waste, food production, and nutrition. Moreover, the symposium provided cultural exchange opportunities to students and faculty alike during the pandemic. This case study serves as a reference to a successful US-Central EU HE institution partnership and demonstrates strategic decision making and adjustments undertaken during the pandemic to adapt to the ‘New Normal’.
Keywords: Food, international programs, virtual symposium, strategic partnership, multisource