Making a difference

Making a difference

May 1
Leslie Sweet Myrick, Office of International Programs Media Communications Specialist
  

International Food Security at Illinois (IFSI) along with the Soybean Innovation Lab and European Union Center recently hosted the Third Annual Food Security Symposium. This year’s theme was “Commercial Agriculture in Tropical Environments.”

For two days I listened to presentations and discussion on the challenges, successes, and tradeoffs of growing grains in tropical regions to alleviate food insecurity. The presenters were a diverse group including guests from the public sector, private sector, professional organizations, and environmental think tanks. The locations discussed were also diverse spanning from Brazil to Africa, and even Vietnam.  

These challenges are huge, but I left positive that International Food Security at Illinois (IFSI) can make a difference. Two main take-a-ways for me personally, as a non-scientist, non-economist, were:

  1. How committed at all levels our college and university are to the issue of food security. (Chancellor Robert Jones and Dean Kidwell both attended the symposium.)

“Starvation is a weapon of mass destruction,” said Dean Kimberlee Kidwell, and also “This is an area where doing the right thing really matters.”

  1. How committed everyone was to environmental stewardship while achieving food security goals. (Nearly every presentation addressed this.)

I’ve no doubt the presenters and attendees, including those watching the live webcast from around the world gained many ideas and inspiration for further work and collaborations on these issues. The symposium presentations are archived here in case you missed (or want to revisit) this great event:

http://soybeaninnovationlab.illinois.edu/third-annual-international-food-security-university-illinois-symposium

Director of Office of International Programs Alex Winter-Nelson (left) listens as keynote speaker Pedro Sanchez (right), former recipient of the World Food Prize, answers questions.