Two ACES students, Shashank Gaur (Food Science and Human Nutrition) and Thomas Poole (Crop Sciences) were selected by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as part of an elite, global group of scholars to attend the Global Food Security Symposium as part of the Next Generation Delegation 2017. Also selected was Vitor Fernandes, an exchange student at the University of Illinois from the University of São Paulo.
At the symposium, the Council released this new report, Stability in the 21st Century: Global Food Security for Peace and Prosperity. The report recommends that the United States, alongside government leaders and the private sector and in close partnership with universities, research institutions, and civil society, double-down on its legacy of commitment to global food security. This commitment not only bolsters the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs around the world, but also opens up new business opportunities and partnerships in emerging economies. The symposium, which featured nearly 70 speakers, drew an audience comprised of over 500 policymakers, corporate executives, and scientists, among others, as well as a digital audience of over 1,300 people from 44 countries.
Shashank Gaur submitted his reflections after attending the event:
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is a pioneer organization striving to identify potential solutions to critical global issues, such as global food security, and to ensure peace and stability around the world.
As a budding scientist in global nutrition, it was an honor and a privilege to serve as a Next Generation Delegate 2017 and represent the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Washington, D.C. During the Global Food Security Symposium, I had the opportunity to interact with the global leaders, scientists, politicians, foreign policy advisors, and fellow students from other universities to discuss the findings from the newly released report on “Stability in the 21st Century.” It was evident that in the current era of increasing population, growing political instability, rising incomes, changing climate, and building youth bulge, it is important for both developed and developing nations to work together and commit to addressing the challenge of hunger and poverty, especially in the conflict-affected countries, such as Syria and Iraq.
The two main solutions that were echoed throughout the program were a) agricultural development in low and middle-income countries and b) continued financial support to research aimed at improving food security among the at-risk populations. I personally believe that the unprecedented budget cuts, as proposed by the current U.S. administration, will undermine our ongoing efforts and will have serious long-term consequences at the international level.
More information on the Next Generation Delegates can be found here: https://digital.thechicagocouncil.org/global-food-security-2017?utm_medium=email&utm_source=in&utm_campaign=gfss17&utm_term=next-gen&utm_content=event&_zs=25Idb1&_zl=SXUa3