Roger Thurow, Council senior fellow for the Global Food and Agriculture Program, takes a minute to discuss how COVID-19 has affected food security and brought attention to hunger amid the abundance in the United States.Watch the video
Roger Thurow, Council senior fellow for the Global Food and Agriculture Program, takes a minute to discuss how COVID-19 has affected food security and brought attention to hunger amid the abundance in the United States.Watch the video
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs works to identify opportunities for US leadership in advancing global food security and nutrition and alleviating poverty through agricultural development. In 2009 it published a report that provided a blueprint for the Obama Administration’s USAID global food security initiative, Feed the Future. Since then, the Council has convened business, policy, scientific, and civil society leaders for task forces examining US farm policy; the nexus between nutrition, health, and the food system; the impact of climate change on food production; the role of research and technology; and food system transformations necessary to feed an urbanizing world. The resulting reports of task force findings and recommendations provide guidance for how stakeholders from the public, private, and NGO sectors can work together to implement innovative solutions to global food security challenges.
The reports are released each year at the Council’s Global Food Security Symposium in Washington DC. The 2012 symposium served as the launching platform for the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and featured speakers such as President Barack Obama; former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Bono; heads of state from Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Benin; and numerous business leaders. Other past symposium speakers include Bill Gates of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provides generous support for the Council’s Global Food and Agriculture Program; US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; Cargill Chairman Greg Page; and Nobel Laureate and President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In addition to annual thematic reports, the Council on Global Affairs also publishes shorter briefs on topics such as US-Africa trade relations; US public opinion on current food system issues, including applications of science in food production; and links between civil unrest and high food prices.
The Global Food and Agriculture Program’s Panel of Advisors help inform and guide the program’s work. These experts come from across disciplines to offer their advice to further the Council’s efforts promoting global food security.
Howard W. Buffett
president, Buffett Farms Nebraska LLC
Howard W. Buffett is a lecturer at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, where he teaches management techniques for improving the effectiveness of foreign aid and global philanthropy. Buffett also teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, lecturing on topics related to international food and agricultural policy. Prior to that, he was the executive director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which strengthens food security for vulnerable populations throughout the world.
Buffett previously served in the US Department of Defense, overseeing agriculture-based economic stabilization and redevelopment programs in Iraq and Afghanistan. He received the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award–the highest ranking civilian honor presented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the request and approval of the Combatant Commanders. Prior to that, Buffett was a policy advisor for the White House Domestic Policy Council where he coauthored the President’s cross-sector partnership strategy. Prior to serving in the White House, he was a special assistant in the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Agriculture, where he authored the expansion strategy for the nation’s Cooperative Extension System.
Buffett earned his BA from Northwestern University, and his MPA in advanced management and finance from Columbia University. He coauthored The New York Times bestselling book 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World, which examines global hunger and food systems challenges, drawing from his experiences while traveling in more than seventy countries across six continents. He is from Omaha, Nebraska, where he operates a four hundred acre conservation-based farm.
visiting professor and executive-in-resident, Kansas State University; former governor, Kansas
John Carlin is currently a visiting professor/executive in resident at Kansas State University in the School for Leadership Studies, where he has taught executive leadership and practical politics since 2005. During this period, he also served as member, then chair of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. This authority was created in 2004 for the purpose of advancing the biosciences in Kansas. Carlin also chaired the Pew Trust Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. The Commission’s final report was issued in 2008 and it continues to help inform policy makers in Washington on key issues facing agriculture and our food supply. Carlin served ten years as Archivist of the United States after being appointed by President Clinton in 1995. He served two four-year terms as Governor of Kansas, leaving office in January of 1987. He was chairman of the National Governors Association from 1984 to 1985. Prior to being Governor, he served four terms in the Kansas House of Representatives, the last term as speaker of the House. Mr. Carlin has a degree in Dairy Husbandry from Kansas State University.
senior vice president, Markets, and executive director, the Markets Institute, World Wildlife Fund
Jason Clay leads the Market Transformation work of WWF-US for agriculture, aquaculture, business and industry, finance, fisheries and forests. Over the course of his career he has worked on a family farm and in the US Department of Agriculture. He has taught at Harvard and Yale and spent more than 30 years with human rights and environmental organizations. In 1989, Dr. Clay invented Rainforest Marketing, one of the first fair-trade ecolabels in the United States, and was responsible for co-creating Rainforest Crunch and more than 200 other products with combined retail sales of $100 million. From 1999-2003, he codirected a consortium with WWF, World Bank, UN Food and Agriculture Organization and National Aquaculture Centres of Asia/Pacific to identify the most significant environmental and social impacts of shrimp aquaculture and analyze better management practices that measurably reduce them. Since then he has co-convened (with the IFC and others) multi-stakeholder roundtables of producers, investors, buyers, researchers and NGOs to identify and reduce the social and environmental impacts of such products as salmon, soy, sugarcane, cotton, and tilapia. Dr. Clay leads WWF’s efforts to work with private sector companies to improve their supply chain management, particularly with regard to ingredient sourcing as well as carbon and water impacts. He also leads WWF's efforts to transform entire sectors by improving their overall performance. He is the author of more than 15 books, 400 articles, and 700 invited presentations. His most recent books are World Aquaculture and the Environment, Exploring the Links between International Business and Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Unilever in Indonesia, and World Agriculture and the Environment. In addition to his role at WWF, Dr. Clay is National Geographic's first ever Food and Agriculture Fellow. He also won the 2012 James Beard Award for his work on global food sustainability. Dr. Clay studied at Harvard University and the London School of Economics before receiving a PhD in anthropology and international agriculture from Cornell University.
Professor of International Development, Imperial College London
Sir Gordon Conway is a professor of international development at Imperial College, London, and director of Agriculture for Impact, a grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on European support of agricultural development in Africa. From 2005-2009 he was chief scientific adviser to the Department for International Development. Previously he was president of The Rockefeller Foundation and vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex. He was educated at the Universities of Wales (Bangor), Cambridge, West Indies (Trinidad), and California (Davis). His discipline is agricultural ecology. In the early 1960's, working in Sabah, North Borneo, he became one of the pioneers of sustainable agriculture. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2005. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex. He was recently president of the Royal Geographical Society. He has authored The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the 21st Century (Penguin and University Press, Cornell) and coauthored Science and Innovation for Development (UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS)). His most recent book One Billion Hungry: Can we Feed the World? was published in October 2012.
Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and International Agriculture and Director, Center for Global Food Security, Purdue University
Gebisa Ejeta is distinguished professor of plant breeding and genetics and international agriculture and serves as executive director of the Center for Global Food Security at Purdue University. Professor Ejeta has been a member of the faculty of Purdue University since 1984. His career has been devoted to education, research, and international development with contributions in human and institutional capacity building, in technology development and transfer, and in advocacy for science in support of the cause of the poor. He has served in advisory roles to several international development agencies. He currently serves on the boards of the Global Food and Agriculture Program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Professor Ejeta is the 2009 World Food Prize Laureate and a recipient of a national medal of honor from the President of Ethiopia. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Agronomy, and the Crop Science Society of America. Professor Ejeta has served the United States Government in several capacities, including as special advisor to the USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, as Science Envoy of the US State Department, and was appointed by President Obama as member of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) in 2010. He was more recently appointed by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to the first UN Scientific Advisory Board.
University Professor, Boston College; Visiting Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Visiting Professor, George Washington University’s School of Public Health
Cutberto Garza previously held appointments as professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and of nutrition at Cornell University (where he served as director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences and vice provost). His major research interests are in pediatric and maternal nutrition. He has worked with the United Nations University (as director of the UNU Food and Nutrition Program), World Health Organizations (WHO) and other international and national organizations. He served as chair of the WHO Steering Committee that developed the new WHO Child Growth Standards, Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board, and the National Research Council’s Board on International Scientific Organizations. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and the recipient of the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Prize for Education and Research, awarded by Brown University in 1996. He delivered the first Founders’ Lecture sponsored by the American Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine in 2006 and received the Conrad Elvehjem Award for Public Service in Nutrition, awarded by the American Society for Nutrition in 2008. He also received the Samuel J. Fomon Nutrition Award in 2011 from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
former US secretary of agriculture; former member, US House of Representatives, Kansas; vice president, The Aspen Institute; senior fellow, The Bipartisan Policy Center
Dan Glickman is vice president of the Aspen Institute and executive director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program. Glickman serves as a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he is cochair of its Democracy Project. He also serves as cochair of the US Global Leadership Coalition, and he is on the board of the World Food Program USA. He is a board member and founding chair of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, created in the 2014 Farm Bill to fund new and innovative research projects in the areas of food and agriculture. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Glickman served as US Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton administration. He also represented the 4th congressional district of Kansas for 18 years in the US House of Representatives, where he was very involved in federal farm policy on the House Agriculture Committee. He also served on the House Judiciary Committee as chairman of the House Permanente Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition, he is the former chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. and former director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Glickman has served as president of the Wichita, Kansas, school board; was a partner in the law firm of Sargent, Klenda, and Glickman; and worked as a trial attorney at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He received his BA in history from the University of Michigan and his JD from the George Washington University. He is a member of the Kansas and District of Columbia bars.
Former CEO, Bunge North America
Carl Hausmann has more than 35 years of experience in the agribusiness and food industries and has successfully led a publicly-held company in Europe, as well as businesses in North America, South America, and Africa. Mr. Hausmann previously served as managing director of global government and corporate affairs of Bunge Limited, a leading global agribusiness and food company, from 2010 until his retirement in 2012 and, prior to that, was CEO of Bunge Europe and Bunge North America. He began his career at Continental Grain, serving in increasingly senior positions, and served in CEO roles at Central Soya, Cerestar USA, and Cereol SA. Mr. Hausmann serves as the vice chair of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR), a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. He currently is the vice chair of Bioversity International, one of the 15 member centers that form the CGIAR. He is also a member of the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC) and is a past president of Fediol, the European association of oilseed crushers. Mr. Hausmann received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and an MBA from the Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) in France.
Cochair, Solutions from the Land Dialogue
A.G. Kawamura is a third generation grower and shipper from Orange County, California. He is the former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). He serves on several boards and committees including: Founding Chair of Solutions from the Land; Global Food and Agriculture Program Panel of Advisors, Chicago Council for Global Affairs; American Farmland Trust Board member; Farm Foundation Board member; Western Growers Association Board member and former chair. For over 30 years Kawamura has worked locally, nationally and internationally, looking for agricultural solutions to the toughest challenges of our time, through the nexus of water, energy, food, new technology, and trade. He remains active in policy discussions on food security and agricultural resilience. As a progressive urban farmer, he has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of southern California. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is building a collaborative, interactive 21st century 70-acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Kawamura graduated with a BA from UC Berkeley.
Mark E. Keenum
President, Mississippi State University
Mark E. Keenum became Mississippi State's 19th president on January 5, 2009, following a distinguished public service career. After completing his bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics at Mississippi State, Dr. Keenum joined the university faculty in 1984 as a marketing specialist with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service. Two years later, he accepted a position as a research associate with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at MSU. He continued his education at the university, in 1988 receiving a doctorate in agricultural economics, and he joined the faculty of that department as assistant professor/economist. In 1989, Dr. Keenum joined the Washington, DC, staff of US Senator Thad Cochran as Legislative Assistant for Agriculture and Natural Resources. As Senator Cochran's adviser on agricultural affairs, he worked on numerous issues important to US agriculture, including the 1990, 1996, and 2002 Farm Bills. From 1996-2006, he served as chief of staff for Senator Cochran. In this role, Dr. Keenum was the chief adviser to the senator on political, legislative and appropriations issues. He also was responsible for managing all administrative and legislative functions of Senator Cochran's Washington, DC, office and three Mississippi offices, including direct oversight of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the US Senate Committee on Appropriations. Prior to being named president of Mississippi State in November 2008, Dr. Keenum served as under secretary of the US Department of Agriculture for two years, where he provided leadership and oversight for the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Foreign Agricultural Service.
Thomas R. Pickering
Vice Chairman, Hills and Company
Thomas R. Pickering, currently vice chairman at Hills and Company, retired as senior vice president international relations and a member of the executive council of The Boeing Company in July 2006. He served in that position for five and a half years. Pickering joined Boeing in January 2001, upon his retirement as US under secretary of state for political affairs, where he had served since May 1997. Pickering holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the US Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was US ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. From 1989 to 1992, he was ambassador and representative to the United Nations in New York. Pickering entered on active duty in the US Navy from 1956-1959, and later served in the Naval Reserve to the grade of lieutenant commander. Between 1959 and 1961, he was assigned to the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department and later to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Pickering received a bachelor's degree, cum laude, from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1953. In 1954, he received a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In 2012, he chaired the Benghazi Accountability Review Board at the request of Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton which made recommendations on improving security stemming from the attack on the US Mission at Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. In 1983 and in 1986, Pickering won the Distinguished Presidential Award and, in 1996, the Department of State’s highest award–the Distinguished Service Award.
Donald F. McHenry Chair in Global Human Development and Director of the Global Human Development Program, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Steven Radelet is a development economist whose work focuses on economic growth, poverty reduction, foreign aid, and debt, primarily in Africa and Asia. Professor Radelet has extensive experience as a policy maker in the US government; as an adviser to developing country leaders; and as a researcher, teacher, and writer. He previously served as chief economist for USAID, senior adviser for development to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and deputy assistant secretary of the treasury for Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He currently serves as an economic adviser to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. He spent four years as and adviser to the Ministry of Finance in Jakarta, Indonesia, and two years as adviser in the Ministry of Finance in The Gambia. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa. From 2002 to 2009, Dr. Radelet was senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. From 1990 to 2000, he was on the faculty of Harvard University, where he was a fellow at the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) and a lecturer on economics and public policy. He is the author of Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries are Leading the Way, the textbook Economics of Development, and dozens of other publications.
Cynthia E. Rosenzweig
Senior Research Scientist, Columbia University
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig is a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Impacts Group. She is a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research and a professor in the department of environmental science at Barnard College. She is the cofounder of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project, a major international collaboration to improve global agricultural modeling, understand climate impacts on the agricultural sector, and enhance adaptation capacity in developing and developed countries. She is cochair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the mayor to advise the city on adaptation for its critical infrastructure. She coled the Metropolitan East Coast Regional Assessment of the US National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, sponsored by the US Global Change Research Program. She was a coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II’s Fourth Assessment Report. She is codirector of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) and coeditor of the First UCCRN Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities, the first-ever global, interdisciplinary, cross-regional, science-based assessment to address climate risks, adaptation, mitigation, and policy mechanisms relevant to cities. She was named as one of “Nature's 10: Ten People Who Mattered in 2012” by the science journal Nature. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she joins impact models with climate models to project future outcomes of both land-based and urban systems under altered climate conditions.
Founder, Edesia/Global Nutrition Solutions
In 2007, Navyn Salem set out to help end the crisis of malnutrition for over 250 million children around the world. Her approach was simple: increase access to innovative Ready-to Use Foods, like Plumpy’Nut® and Nutributter®, in developing countries, while building on the success of these nutritious, peanut-based solutions to reach greater numbers of under-served, malnourished populations. In 2009, after first establishing a factory in her father’s home country of Tanzania, Navyn founded Edesia, a nonprofit food aid manufacturer in Providence, Rhode Island. This factory now produces over 8,000 metric tons each year of ready-to-use foods (RUFs) for humanitarian agencies working on behalf of children in emergency situations and conflict zones. Since production began in March 2010, Edesia has reached over 2.5 million children in 35 countries, including Chad, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, and Syria. In 2012, Navyn was named New England Business Woman of the Year by Bryant University, received the Roger E. Joseph Prize from Hebrew Union College for being an outstanding humanitarian, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in social sciences from Boston College, her Alma Mater. In 2013, Navyn received an honorary degree in business administration from Bryant University. In 2014, she was named a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Barbara A. Schaal
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
Barbara Schaal is the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, and the Mary Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. She currently serves as chair of the Division on Earth and Life Studies at the National Research Council and is a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology. She is a plant evolutionary biologist who uses DNA sequences to understand evolutionary processes such as gene flow, geographical differentiation, and the domestication of crop species. Her current research focuses on the evolutionary genomics of rice. Schaal was born in Berlin, Germany, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago, with a degree in biology and received a PhD from Yale University. She has been president of the Botanical Society of America and the Society for the Study of Evolution and is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was recently appointed as a US science envoy by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Paul E. Schickler
President, DuPont Pioneer
Paul E. Schickler is president of DuPont Pioneer, the advanced seed genetics business of DuPont. In this role, which he has held since 2007, he has continued to expand Pioneer’s global business by remaining focused on innovation that improves local productivity and profitability of farmers in more than 90 countries. Since joining Pioneer in 1974, Schickler has served in a variety of finance and administrative leadership roles throughout the business, including vice president of International Operations from 1999 to 2007. He currently serves on the DuPont Committee on Agricultural Innovation and Productivity in the 21st Century and the DuPont Agriculture Decision Board, and he is a member of the DuPont Operating Team.
Mr. Schickler is a graduate of Drake University, where he received bachelor's of science and master's of arts degrees in business administration. He currently serves on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs board of directors; the Global Food and Agriculture Program advisory group at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; the Greater Des Moines Partnership board of directors; the Grand View University board of directors; the STEM Food and Ag Council; and the Iowa Business Council. A strong contributor to the community, Mr. Schickler is an active supporter of United Way, the World Food Prize Foundation, Meals from the Heartland, and the Farm Journal Legacy Project.
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda
CEO and Head of Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network
Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is the vice president responsible for policy and strategic partnerships at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Previously, she was the chief executive officer and head of mission of the Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). She works with governments, African smallholder farmers, private sector, and researchers in various initiatives aimed at making Africa a food and nutrition secure continent. She is an animal scientist by training and a practicing commercial beef cattle farmer. She has been at the forefront of the global agriculture, food security, nutrition, and climate change policy agenda. She has served as an advisor and governor to numerous international organizations including: board chairmanship of the International Livestock Research Institute; steering committee member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Water Land and Ecosystems Program, and member of the Independent Steering Committee of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security. She also served as a member of the EAT-Lancet Commission which is soon to publish a report on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. She received her BSc degree at the University of Alexandria in Egypt, and her MSc and PhD at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.
Robert L. Thompson
Visiting Scholar, John Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies; Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois
Robert L. Thompson is a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois where he held the Gardner Endowed Chair in Agricultural Policy from 2004-10. He is a nonresident senior fellow with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and serves on the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council. Previously Thompson served as director of rural development at the World Bank (1998-2002); president of Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development (1993-98); dean of agriculture (1987-93) and professor of agricultural economics (1974-93) at Purdue University; assistant secretary for economics at the US Department of Agriculture (1985-87) and senior staff economist for food and agriculture at the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1983-85).
Thompson received his BS degree from Cornell University and MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University and holds honorary doctorates from Pennsylvania State University and Dalhousie University (Canada). He is a fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He is a former president of the International Association of Agricultural Economists.
Executive Director, UN Children’s Fund (2005-2010), United States Secretary of Agriculture (2001-2005)
Ann M. Veneman has a distinguished career in public service, serving as the executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) from 2005 to 2010 and as the United States Secretary of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005. Veneman’s leadership and vision has been recognized both nationally and internationally. In 2009 she was named to the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women list, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors.
At UNICEF Veneman directed a staff of over 11,000 in more than 150 countries around the world. She worked to support child health and nutrition; quality basic education for all; access to clean water and sanitation; and the protection of children and women from violence, exploitation, and HIV/AIDS. She traveled to more than 70 countries to review the plight of children; to witness the devastation caused by natural disaster, conflict, disease, and exploitation; and to advance programs aimed at improving and saving lives.
As secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Veneman directed one of most diverse federal agencies with a budget of $113 billion and 110,000 employees. She also served as secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1995 to 1999, overseeing the state agency responsible for nation’s largest agricultural producing region. From 1986 to 1993, she served in various positions in the USDA, including deputy secretary, deputy undersecretary for international affairs, and associate administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service. At USDA, Veneman advanced an expanded trade agenda, food protection, progressive farm policy, responsible forest policy, and stronger nutrition programs.
Veneman currently serves on the boards of directors for Alexion and Nestlé SA. Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company that combines groundbreaking science with a steadfast commitment to meeting the needs of patients living with severe, life-threatening, and often ultra-rare diseases. Nestlé is the world's leading nutrition, health, and wellness company, providing consumers a wide range of food and beverage products.
Veneman is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Trilateral Commission. She is a frequent speaker on a range of topics including poverty alleviation, empowering women and girls, food security and nutrition, and global health.
Throughout her career Veneman has served on a number of advisory councils, committees, and non-profit boards, particularly those involving higher education. Currently she is on the boards of the National 4-H Council, the Global Innovative Health Technology Fund and Landesa. She is also a cochair of the Bipartisan Policy Center initiative on Obesity and Physical Activity and on the Bipartisan Policy Center Commission on Political Reform. She serves on the advisory boards of BRAC, The FEED Project, Pencils of Promise, Roosevelt House, Terra Vesco, the Global Food and Agriculture Program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, Living Goods, Runa Tea, Aloha, and Driptech. In 2012 she served as a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy.
A lawyer by training, Veneman has practiced law in both California and in Washington, DC. Early in her career, she was a deputy public defender. Veneman holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Davis; a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley; and a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from several universities and colleges.
executive director, The Vitality Group
Derek Yach has focused his career on advancing global health. He is executive director of the Vitality Group, part of Discovery Holdings Ltd, where he leads the Vitality Institute for Health Promotion. Prior to that he was senior vice president of global health and agriculture policy at PepsiCo where he supported portfolio transformation and led engagement with major international groups and new African initiatives at the nexus of agriculture and nutrition. He has headed global health at the Rockefeller Foundation, has been a professor of global health at Yale University, and is a former executive director for noncommunicable diseases and mental health of the World Health Organization (WHO). At WHO, he served as cabinet director under Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland where he led the development of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity. Dr. Yach established the Centre for Epidemiological Research at the South African Medical Research Council. He has authored or coauthored over 200 articles covering the breadth of global health. Dr. Yach serves on several advisory boards including those of the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Economic Forum, the NIH’s Fogarty International Centre, and PepsiCo’s Scientific Advisory Board. His degrees include an MBChB from the University of Cape Town, BSc (Hons Epi) from the University of Stellenbosch, and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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Liam Condon, President, Crop Science Division, Bayer AG; Diane Holdorf, Managing Director, Food and Nature, WBCSD; Ruramiso Mashumba, CEO, Mnandi Africa; Chairperson, Zimbabwe Farmers Union Youth
Gilbert Houngbo, President, International Fund for Agriculture & Development; Sigrid Kaag, Minister, Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation, Kingdom of the Netherlands; Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) ; Roy Steiner, Senior VP, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation
Eliza Barclay, Science and Health Editor, Vox; Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture
Sanjeev Krishnan, Chief Investing Officer and Managing Director, S2G Ventures; Sara Menker, CEO and Founder, Gro Intelligence
Ivo H. Daalder, President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Ertharin Cousin, Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture; Dan Glickman, Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program; Sanjeev Asthana, Nonresident Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture; Paul Schickler, Former President, DuPont Pioneer
Eduardo S. Brondizio, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University Bloomington ; Esther Ngumbi, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign ; Tatiana Schlossberg, Journalist
Prasanta Kalita, Professor and Presidential Fellow, University of Illinois System; Sera Young, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University