UNL to host Fulbright scholars' food security seminar

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UNL will host 77 Fulbright scholars from nearly 50 countries this week during a four-day meeting that will focus on food security around the world.

The Global Food Security Seminar will gather students in agricultural and environmental sciences, biology and biomedical sciences, public health, economics and engineering. Set for Oct. 20-24 in Lincoln, the event will showcase people and groups working to advance sustainable, agriculture-led growth to increase availability of food for growing populations, make food affordable and increase incomes of the poor.

The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and organized by the Institute of International Education. The bureau oversees the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program, which is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

With the world's population expected to reach 9 billion by 2040, the question of how to feed the world has become pressing. Increasing population, rising incomes and changes in climate are likely to place extraordinary demands on global food systems in coming decades.

The gathering in Lincoln will introduce participants to technological innovators, scientists and experts in the agricultural sciences, public-private associations, private sector companies, policy groups, and research and development laboratories.

Among the interactive discussions is an Oct. 21 session on creating sustainable food systems. UNL professors Stephen Baenziger (small grains breeding and genetics) and Sally Mackenzie (plant genetics) will join William Powers, executive director of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, and Nebraska Farm Bureau President Keith Olsen for a panel discussion on creating global sustainable food systems.

Visits to the Beadle Center on City Campus, the Food Processing Center on East Campus, the Agricultural Research and Development Center in Mead and other locations will give scholars the opportunity to learn about new research and technologies in agriculture. Students also will participate in a problem-solving exercise during the seminar that addresses a specific aspect of the food security challenge.

Several UNL faculty members will speak at the seminar and take part in group discussions. They include Tom Clemente, director of the Plant Transformation Core Research Facility; Tim Carr, professor of nutrition and health sciences; Devin Rose and Heather Hallen-Adams, assistant professors of food science and technology; Harshavardhan Thippareddi, associate professor of food science and technology; Don Wilhite, director of the School of Natural Resources; Steve Mason, professor of crops production and management; Wes Peterson and Richard Perrin, professors of agricultural economics; Mark Lagrimini, head of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture; Suat Irmak, associate professor of biological systems engineering; Charles Wortmann, associate professor of soil science; Gina Matkin, assistant professor of agricultural leadership, education and communication; and Blair Siegfried, professor of entomology.

- Steve Smith, University Communications