The Power of Collective Action
Universities nurture innovation and inspire critical thinking, and over the years many of the world’s best university researchers and teachers have made tremendous contributions to the science of growing, processing, transporting and accessing food. But until recently it was difficult for the academy to make a collective contribution to the global effort to end hunger and malnutrition.
In February 2014 the Hunger Solutions Institute, in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), held a High Level interactive forum, “Shaping the Collective Role of Universities as a Partner in Ending Hunger” to determine how to better coordinate efforts to address these critical issues. A Concept Note for that event can be found here.
A consensus outcome from that gathering, which drew 70 leaders from 30 universities in Canada, the United States and Latin America, was the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security. The statement outlines a number of activities where university leaders will make food and nutrition security a campus priority by encouraging assessment and acceleration of teaching, research, outreach and student engagement in these areas on their respective campuses. The first step in making this commitment is to contribute to an international inventory and mapping of existing activities to facilitate collaboration across universities and to minimize redundancies.