Universities Fighting World Hunger, an Auburn-led alliance of universities partnered with the United Nations’ World Food Program, is committed to ending this occurrence once and for all.
UFWH hosted the Fifth Annual University Hunger Summit Feb. 26 - 28 at The Hotel at Auburn University with the focus: Mobilizing to Feed a Hungry World.
In attendance were prominent students from universities all over North America, including Penn State, Harvard, Stanford and The University of Guelph in Canada.
Students listened to speakers and panels who discussed the different facets of solving the problem of hunger, and Auburn University President Jay Gouge gave the opening remarks.
Gouge said the UFWH’s goal of ending world hunger as an, “unreasonable public declaration,” noting two other unlikely goals: the Declaration of Independence and President John F. Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon.
“So I want to applaud each of you for being here, and really making that unreasonable public declaration,” Gouge said.
The summit was marked by keynote addresses given by some of the top fighters in the global war on hunger.
David Lambert, Global Food Security Advisor and former counselor to the US mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, addressed the summit on the first day.
“You should be aware that you are in a historic place,” Lambert said. “You are in a place that years from now will be remembered as giving the initial energy and vision and leadership to a national group to end
the scourge we call hunger.”
Kishore Mandhyan, deputy director of Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs for the executive office of the secretary general of the UN, gave his address on the importance of the role of caring.
“To give is to gain, to keep is to hoard,” said Mandhyan, quoting his grandfather, who cared for him while he had smallpox at the age of 20.
Roger Thurow, senior fellow on Global Agriculture and Food Policy for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is co-author of “Enough, Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty,” and spent 30 years working
for the Wall Street Journal, 20 of which he served as a foreign correspondent.
Thurow addressed the summit on the subject of raising awareness Saturday night.
“Hunger is basically the one great problem in the world that we can conquer,” Thurow said. “We have the know-how, we have the experience, we have the tools, we have the science, we have the technology.”
The summit focused on a range of topics, including what is being done to fight hunger by non-governmental organizations, corporations and universities.
Bread for the World, Share Our Strength, Stop Hunger Now, Food for the Hungry, Friends of the World Food Program and the New York City Coalition Against Hunger were all represented at the summit.
Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and author of “All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America,” spoke on the prevalence of hunger in the U.S. and what we can do to end it, emphasizing the role of the federal government.
Berg said that if one wants to make a difference in the war on hunger, “they should visit their elected officials, call their elected officials, write their elected officials and organize other people.”
Sodexo Inc., a provider of food and facilities management services, and Elanco Inc., a producer of animal health products, both operate in over 75 countries, and were represented at the summit, demonstrating their
efforts in combating hunger.
The summit was a marathon of speeches and presentations, conversations and the exchange of ideas between institutions, and brought together the people that really can end the plague of hunger in our world.
“Ending hunger, I believe, can truly be the singular achievement of our generation, the singular achievement of your generation,” Thurow said.
The William J. Clinton Hunger Leadership Award, which recognizes one student who has demonstrated a commitment to learning and service in hunger, was awarded to Sarah Nam, of Harvard University.
Finalists for the award were Alma Buljina of North Carolina State, Esther Ngumbi of Auburn, and Thomas Tobin of Stanford.
UFWH is headed by June Henton, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Human Sciences, Harriet Giles, Ph.D., Director of External Relations, College of Human Sciences and Douglas Coutts, Senior Advisor to the UN World
Food Program and consists of more than 100 colleges and universities worldwide.