Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Borlaug Dialogue Kicks Off!

Today was a spectacular day as the Borlaug Dialogue kicked off in Des Moines, Iowa as part of the World Food Prize. The afternoon was filled with key issues facing Global Hunger and Agriculture. I will share key points from the various sessions. Our goal is that you will discuss these points and have the conversations grow from Des Moines to around the globe.

Kenneth Quinn kicked off the afternoon with a recap of the events of the past year for the World Food Prize. He, also, noted the theme for this years dialogue as "Borlaug 101." It was evident from the start that this is going to be an awesome learning experience for all involved.

Opening Keynote: Chelsea Clinton
  • We have a crisis that will only be amplified as our population grows. Feeding our world.
  • Investing and empowering women is not just the right thing, but the smart thing to do.
  • Women farmers should not just be participants, but leaders.
  • 1 in 3 children in Africa are food insecure.
  • We must tackle child nutrition issues.

Empowering Women and Girls Through STEM Education: Catherine Bertini, Chelsea Clinton, Michiel Bakker, Robert Fraley, Honorable Kim Reynolds, and Mary Wagner
  • About 3 million students will be involved in STEM programs in school, but many more are needed.
  • It has been found that in math and science classrooms teachers start calling on girls less and less as they go through school.
  • Three states in the United States did not even have one female take an AP computer exam.
  • We must change the structures of classrooms to be more hands on.
  • We must have a balanced education from arts to general education to STEM.
  • Farmers in the United States spend 10-15 minutes a year controlling weeds in an acre of land, where in Africa a farmer may spend 2-3 months managing weeds in an acre area. This is why STEM education is important.
  • A challenge for all: Make it a priority to create a list of women and men that you will mentor. Being a mentor is important!
The Ebola Crisis: One Year Later: Monty Jones and H.E. Florence Chenoweth
  • Now Ebola has a 70% survival rate.
  • Ebola hit the four breadbasket areas of Africa.
  • Ebola brought out the true resilience in Africa. We will rebuild!
  • Since October 4th Liberia has been declared Ebola free.
  • Africa must focus on getting back to where we were before Ebola hit. This includes everything: schools, health, agriculture, etc.
  • With communication Ebola could have been controlled better, but we had no idea what to communicate when it hit.
University of California Davis World Food Center: Launcing a New Initiative - Food For a Healthy World: Roger Beachy, Joseph Glauber, Christine Stewart, Daniel Sumner
  • Health transition mirrors economic transformation.
  • Food prices have eased over the last 12 months.
  • New population projections are showing 9.6 billion by 2050.
  • Bio-fuel demand has slowed since 2011 and future growth will depend on energy prices.
  • Globally child stunting is decreasing, but obesity is slowly increasing.
  • Poor quality diets are the leading cause of illness and mortality globally.
  • Food supply does not meet nutrient requirements or adequate dietary diversity.
  • We must place a priority on nutrient rich crops.
  • We must involve agriculturists in nutrition.
  • Import and export barriers and subsidies hurt the poor and hinder efficiency of agriculture.

We concluded the evening by making our way to the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates where Eric Pohlman was awarded the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. This provided an excellent opportunity to network with others and explore the Hall of Laureates.

Check back Thursday and Friday evenings as the conversations continue! 

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