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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 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, a statement outlining a number of initiatives spanning teaching, research, outreach, and student engagement that university leaders can implement as part of an action agenda to make food and nutrition security an institutional priority.

Signatories of the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security make up a consortium known as Presidents United to Solve Hunger or PUSH. Powered by its student counterpart, Universities Fighting World Hunger, PUSH signatories pledge to work collectively toward zero hunger campuses, communities, and nations.

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