Penn State to host Fulbright global food security seminar

Penn State’s University Park campus was selected by the U.S. Department of State to host more than 70 Fulbright scholars from 40 developing countries for a four-day seminar Feb. 29 to March 4 that will focus on global food security.

The Fulbright Global Food Security Seminar will bring together international graduate students in a wide variety of disciplines from plant sciences to public health. The seminar is a joint project of the College of Agricultural Sciences and the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP). Global Knowledge Initiatives (GKI), a nonprofit organization that seeks to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries, will join the collaboration to supervise the closing workshop and presentation contest.

"The College of Agricultural Sciences is honored to have been selected to co-host this prestigious event with the University Office of Global Programs," said Bruce A. McPheron, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "As we enter into the sesquicentennial of the founding of the land grant university system, it is important for universities like Penn State to have a global vision of the food system. We are looking forward to hosting the future leaders of agriculture from around the world here on our campus and in our community to share our knowledge and to learn from them about issues we all face together."

The seminar builds on the approach to food security in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ curriculum, which is organized around three key components: availability, accessibility and usability, and focuses on five key themes: technology, economics, politics, natural resources and socio-cultural. UOGP recently charged a food security task force that seeks to bring together a multidisciplined group of scholars to discuss and promote scholarship regarding the issue.

"The seminar will allow Penn State faculty to learn about the complex food security challenges in the home countries of the Fulbright students while enabling Fulbright participants to better understand the research related to global food security being conducted in the U.S.," said Audrey Maretzki, professor emeritus of food science in the College of Agricultural Sciences and program content facilitator for the seminar.

"We also hope to use the program to integrate technological, socio-cultural, political and economic issues related to food security and to address some common stereotypes about U.S. farms and farmers," Maretzki said.

In addition to the academic panels and discussions, field trips to local farms and research facilities provide further networking opportunities for the participants.

The event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), is organized by the Institute of International Education. ECA oversees the Fulbright program, which is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

Last Updated February 09, 2012