In advance of the 11th annual UFWH Summit 2016, university presidents and representatives from institutions that have signed the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security gathered to share best practices, learn about the PUSH Inventory and Mapping, and hear about new collaborative opportunities to accelerate the fight against hunger at their campuses.
Held at the University of Missouri – Columbia and hosted by University of Missouri Chancellor Emeritus and PUSH Steering Committee member Brady Deaton, the PUSH Leaders Forum featured interactive sessions with topics that ranged from addressing student hunger on campus, to leveraging the influence of athletics, to galvanize community involvement in solutions. Jay Jacobs, Athletic Director for Auburn University, and Mack Rhoades, Director of Athletics at the University of Missouri, joined Chancellor Thomas George from the University of Missouri – St. Louis in discussing how athletics can serve the greater good. Lorene Ritchie, Director and CE Specialist of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California and Ruben E. Canedo Chair of UC Berkeley’s Food Security Committee joined a panel moderated by Steve Pueppke, special advisor to the vice president for research and graduate studies at Michigan State University which looked at successful programs that can be replicated at other PUSH universities.
USDA Under Secretary Catherine Woteki and Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) Sally Rockey were on a panel that highlighted new opportunities where university could join in multi-sector collaborations. Dr. Woteki presented Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), an international multi-sector movement to make information, research, and data sets widely accessible and available. The goal is to move both policy and practice to accelerate the goal of universal food and nutrition security by making agriculture and nutrition data a public global good. Dr. Rockey introduced the relatively newly established FFAR, who seeks to support with matching funds innovative projects that can stimulate scientific and technical research, innovation and partnerships to boost agriculture and food security.
The group was graciously hosted by University of Missouri Interim President Michael Middleton and Mrs. Middleton at a dinner at the president’s home which featured a keynote speech by John Sexton, who just recently stepped down as President of NYU. He shared his vision of education as a means to uplift the world and shared his personal passion for investing in this generation, as the generation who will find transformational solutions to age-old global challenges like hunger. He currently is teaching a course on religion and government that has him circling the globe to teach class sessions in New York City, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai each week.
The PUSH Leaders Forum ended as the UFWH began with a joint keynote address by Catherine Bertini, World Food Prize laureate and professor of public administration and international affairs at the Maxwell school of citizenship and public affairs. Ms. Bertini, as a former executive director of the World Food Programme shared inspiring and tactical advice on how to be a person that makes the world a better place.