NC State Hosts Fulbright Global Food Security Seminar

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  Fulbright Scholars at Stop Hunger Now Event  Fulbright Scholars Tour Lake Wheeler Farms

November 6, 2013

Fulbright Scholars from around the world gathered at NC State this week for a Global Food Security Seminar.  The 67 scholars from 40 different countries are a part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, a program of the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that awards grants to participants chosen for academic excellence and leadership potential.  Scholars participating in the Global Food Security Seminar are currently studying and researching at universities all over the U.S. in fields such as Engineering, Crop Sciences, Biology, Nutrition and Veterinary Medicine.   

NC State was selected for the second year in a row to host the Fulbright Global Food Security Seminar based off experience and expertise in fields relating to food security.  The Global Health Initiative and the Global Training Initiative spearheaded the effort to bring the seminar to campus.  Organizers aimed to highlight the agricultural research strengths and innovative food related technologies that can be found in North Carolina so that scholars can grasp a better understanding of global food security challenges and the role they play in addressing them.  

Food security is defined as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life” according to the UK-based Global Food Security organization.  The seminar keynote speaker, Dr. Deborah Delmer, Professor Emeritus of Biology at UC Davis, explained that there are 6.6 billion people and we can only feed 4 billion.  Fulbright Scholars studying and researching this issue had the opportunity to learn from NC State experts tackling the challenge from different angles including agricultural engineering, plant and microbial biology and agricultural and resources economics.   With representation from Argentina, Iraq, Mongolia, New Zealand and Zambia, to name a few, the scholars represent a diverse array of food security issues and challenges around the globe.  The seminar was an opportunity to get the best and brightest young scholars from around to world together to address this grand challenge.

Fulbright programs are known to be all-encompassing, focusing on the academic as well as cultural experiences for scholars.  The seminar at NC State followed this model allowing Fulbrights to engage formally and informally with local and national experts.  Local industry, community organization and farm tours were also a part of the seminar to foster the generation of new ideas and promote understanding of different cultures and business models.  Scholars visited Lake Wheeler Farms, Syngenta and the Produce Box Local Farms.  Staying true to NC State’s Think and Do message, the seminar involved Fulbright Scholars taking action by packaging 12,000 meals through a Stop Hunger Now event organized specifically for the Fulbright seminar.  Participants were also immersed in the culture of Raleigh with homestays where they enjoyed home cooked meals while developing relationships with American families.

Shailendra Kumar Mandal, a Fulbright Scholar from India currently studying at the University of Arizona, explained that “we have to make the global, national, regional and local policies more effective to address this issue keeping in the mind the triple bottom line of sustainability.”  Mandal says this week’s seminar at NC State helped him reflect on his role in creating “innovations to achieve the global goal Food for All.”

This article was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.


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