Collective Action by Universities to End Hunger

Blog post by Nicole Schiegg, Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University, for Universities Fighting World Hunger.

Last week, an inaugural forum of university leaders was held to identify ways that collective action can solve hunger. The forum was organized by the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

More than 50 university leaders from the United States, Canada and Central America, as well as senior representatives from the U.S. government, United Nations, private sector and foundations were in attendance.

Photo Credit: Jeff Etheridge, AU Photographic Services

Photo Credit: Jeff Etheridge, AU Photographic Services

The forum featured speakers from around the world, including: Alastair Summerlee, president, University of Guelph in Canada and chair of the Hunger Solutions Institute Board of Advisors; Brady Deaton, chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri and chair of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development; Robert Easter, president, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Mark Keenam, President of Mississippi State University; Matthew Jenkins, interim president, Tuskegee University; David Marin, president, Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan of Honduras; Richard Florizone, president, Dalhousie University in Canada; Elsa Murano, president emeritus, Texas A&M University and Norman Borlaug Institute director; as well as leaders from the U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Development Program and the U.N. World Food Programme.

Leaders at the forum shared a fundamental belief the universities create an environment that nurtures innovation and critical thinking. Over two days, they discussed the collective role for universities to deepen commitment to and impact on the fight against hunger. Key themes towards hunger solutions included: helping students and faculty at universities in developing countries and sharing best practices in teaching, research, and outreach with international organizations and multi-sector partners. Forum participants pledged to endorse a declaration statement and to share best practices and lessons learned across a common platform.

Sustainable pathways to food security can and must be built by universities. By multiplying collective impact, attracting students who are seeking a more meaningful college experience, consolidating individual strengths to become competitive for funding opportunities, and increasing global relevancy, universities are on the forefront of the fight against global hunger and food insecurity.

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This post does not reflect the views or opinion of the Zero Hunger Challenge, and does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.