Global Seminar Spotlight: David Morfesi

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Global Seminar Spotlight: David Morfesi

This is a continuation of our "IANR is Global" series, which highlights the many ways internationalization is woven through the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources: through research collaboration, government and private industry partnerships, extension work, student educational experiences and the IANR community from around the world.  

This edition is specifically focused on the many global voices we have or have invited to campus who will be sharing their expertise through seminars during spring semester 2020. Our guest speaker is David Morfesi, director of international trade for Australian firm Minter Ellison, who is also serving as a (virtually) visting profesor with the Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance. Morfesi will be presenting a talk entitled “China, Trade and Covid-19” on April 23 at 6:00 p.m. CDT. as part of his work with the Yeutter Institute. We appreciate the expertise we are fortunate to have from all over the world, as shown by their many and varied contributions to the work of the university and our continued mission to create a globally engaged institution. To this end, we want to help our campus community get to know each other (and the world) more, starting with these experts. 

Where is your hometown? Where did you receive your education?

My hometown is Glen Head, on Long Island in NY.  I have spent 10+ years at various universities, but Boston College is where I was an undergrad.  Boston was a great college town.

Tell us a little about your path to where you are now.

The path less travelled to be sure, but a long and winding one at that.  I have danced salsa on the city walls of Cartagena, slept in a mud hut in Lesotho, waded in the Panama Canal to photograph crocodiles, and learned to surf on the north shore of O'ahu - all while travelling to negotiate trade agreements.

What is something people don’t know (or that you wish they knew) about where you live or where you are from?

I live in Adelaide, Australia.  Not only am I surrounded on three sides by vineyards and the other by beach, but I am also surrounded by some of the best trade policy experts in the world, including World Bank economists and a former Deputy Director-General of the WTO.

Are you engaged in any international partnerships or collaborations in your current role? 

More than I can recall here.  My current favourite is with UNL.

Why is it important for institutions like the University of Nebraska to prioritize inviting or hearing from people with experience from different parts of the world?

It would be crazy not to!  That is not just because the world has so much to offer, but because Nebraska has so much to offer the world, and does so robustly.  That was the best thing I discovered in Lincoln.  A quiet, out of the way hamlet, with an agricultural, business, economic policy and legal community more worldly and outward-looking than many  "cosmopolitan" cities I've visited.

What is one piece of advice you would share with students, especially those who are interested in an international career?

Life is a constant, onward journey.  So, always have a go.  Don't let fear of failure slow you down, as with the right attitude you either succeed or you learn.  Oh, and have fun while you do it!

We encourage the campus community to attend David's seminar at 6:00 p.m. CDT on April 23 online. Register here to recieve the invitation link. 


Are you giving a seminar in spring 2020 (or the future) and have an international element to your work, studies or background you'd like to see highlighted? Contact Brianne Wolf at