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April 11, 2009 | Stanford University

An interdisciplinary, one-day conference on critical issues in food and agriculture worldwide, featuring academics and practitioners from NGOs, government agencies and international institutions


Who will deliver the keynotes?

Opening Keynote: Dr. Gurdev Khush

Dr. Gurdev Khush is a world renowned agronomist and is considered one of the heroes of the Green Revolution, for his leadership in developing rice strains that enhanced the quality and quanitiy of the rice supply in countries facing unprecedented population growth. Under his direction at the Plant Breeding Department, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) developed rice varieties that now account for 60% of the world's rice supply.

Dr. Khush is the recepient of numerous awards for his work, including the Japan Prize (1987), the World Food Prize (1996), the Rank Prize (1998), and the Wolf Prize (2000). He graduated from Punjab Agricultural University and the University of California-Davis, but has since been awarded nine honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University in England. He has also been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and Royal Society of London, and he consults for over 15 national governments, including India, China, and Russia. Dr. Khush is the author of three books, over 80 book chapters, and more than 160 scientific papers.

Closing Keynote: Dr. Peter Timmer

Peter Timmer is currently a Visiting Professor at the Program on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on Global Development in Washington. Prior to that, Timmer was Dean of the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UC San Diego. Timmer has also held professorships at Harvard, Cornell, and Stanford. In 1992, he received the Bintang Jasa Utama (Highest Merit Star) from the Republic of Indonesia for his contributions to food security. He served as the chief outside advisor to USAID in developing their strategy on growth and agriculture for the Natsios Report (Foreign Assistance in the National Interest), and was one of the key advisors for the World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development.

Timmer's work focuses on three broad topics: the nature of "pro-poor growth" and its application in Indonesia and other countries in Asia; the supermarket revolution in developing countries and its impact on the poor (both producers and consumers); and the structural transformation in historical perspective as a framework for understanding the political economy of agricultural policy.

Who are the "International Economics" panelists?

John Finn | World Trade Organization (WTO)

Mr Finn has worked in the Secretariat of the WTO since 1998, apart from six months spent in 2007 in the Institute for International Trade in The University of Adelaide in Australia. Prior to joining the Trade Policies Review Division at the start of 2009 he worked on agriculture trade policy, including the agriculture part of the Doha round of trade negotiations. Before working in the WTO, Mr Finn was a policy analyst for the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and worked on national and European agriculture policies. He has an MBA from University College Dublin and a BA (Maths) and BAI (Civil Engineering) from Trinity College Dublin. He is married with two children.

Alain de Janvry | UC Berkeley

Alain de Janvry is an economist working on international economic development, with expertise principally in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. Fields of work include poverty analysis, rural development, quantitative analysis of development policies, impact analysis of social programs, technological innovations in agriculture, microfinance, and the management of common property resources. He is a member of the French National Academy of Agriculture and a fellow of the American Agricultural Economic Association. He is a professor of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He was co-director of the World Development Report 2008, Agriculture for Development.

Timothy Josling | Stanford University

Timothy Josling is a professor, emeritus, at the (former) Food Research Institute at Stanford; an FSI senior fellow by courtesy; and a faculty member at FSI' European Forum. His research focuses on agricultural policy and food policy in industrialized nations, and international trade in agricultural products. He is currently studying the reform of the agricultural trading system in the World Trade Organizations. He has also done research on the agricultural trade policies of countries in the Caribbean Basin, and expected changes in farm policy in the European Union as a result of the EU's expansion to include countries from Central Europe.Before coming to Stanford in 1978, Josling taught at the London School of Economics and at the University of Reading (England).

See program page for panel descriptions

Who are the "Ethics" panelists?

David Kauck | Care International

David Kauck is CARE's Senior Policy Analyst for food security, food aid management and aid effectiveness. He has been one of the principal architects of CARE's policy positions regarding monetization, local purchase, cash transfers, social protection, and other proposed reforms in US foreign assistance programs. He has worked with development practitioners in many African countries, analyzing patterns of poverty and hunger, assessing their causes, and designing poverty alleviation programs. Much of this work has been carried out in chronically vulnerable areas, regions in which rural households face severe hardship due to hunger, structural poverty, physical insecurity and natural disasters. He has nearly twenty-five years of development experience in Africa and Latin America. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Washington, and lives in Washington, D.C.

Benjamin Homan | Food for the Hungry

Benjamin Homan's role as President/CEO of Food for the Hungry (since 2001) places him at the crossroads of faith communities, humanitarian response, and foreign assistance reform. While having briefed government leaders, including the U.S. President, the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor, he is also an ordained Presbyterian elder, lay-preacher and a former Vice President of Covenant Theological Seminary. Homan is the former Chair of the Alliance for Food Security, the past President of AERDO (Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations) and past Chair of USAID's Advisory Committee. He has served on the faculties of Chaffey College, Biola University, the University of Nebraska and the University of California-Irvine. In May 2008, he and his wife celebrated 20 years of marriage with their three children.

Paul Thompson | Michigan State University

Paul B. Thompson is the W. K. Kellogg Professor of Agriculture, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, where he is also holds the rank of Professor in the Departments of Philosophy, Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics and Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies. He has published extensively on a wide range of philosophical and ethical topics that involve farming and food including agricultural biotechnology, animal welfare, world hunger and environmental impact. His books include The Ethics of Aid and Trade: U.S. Food Policy, Foreign Competition and the Social Contract and The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics. Two new edited collections appeared in 2008: P. B. Thompson, Ed. The Ethics of Intensification: Agricultural Technology and Cultural Change (Dordrecht, NL: Springer) and K. David and P.B. Thompson, Eds. What Can Nanotechnology Learn from Biotechnology: Social and Ethical Lessons for Nanoscience from the Debate over Agrifood Biotechnology and GMOs (Burlington, MA: Academic Press). In 2009, the University Press of Kentucky will publish Sustainability and Agrarian Ideals.

See program page for panel descriptions

Who are the "Environment" panelists?

David Lobell | Stanford University

Dr. Lobell is a Senior Research Scholar in the Program on Food Security and Environment. His research focuses on quantifying the risks that climate changes pose to crop production and food security, and identifying attractive adaptation options that can reduce these risks. This work includes modeling climate changes in agricultural regions, particularly the changes resulting from land use activities, and modeling the response of cropping systems to climate.

Siwa Msangi | International Food Policy Research Institute

Dr. Siwa Msangi is a Research Fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division at The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and leads a research team on "Global Food and Natural Resources: Strategies and Policies for Adapting to Global Change" that focuses on the major socio-economic and bio-physical drivers affecting agricultural production and trade, and their impacts on nutrition, poverty and the environment. His current work is focused primarily on biofuels, although Mr. Msangi has a broader research background in natural resource management and especially surface and groundwater management policy. A Tanzanian national, Dr. Msangi studied Agricultural Economics at the University of California at Davis, and International Development Policy at the Food Policy Research Institute at Stanford, where he also received an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering.

William Easterling | Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Dr. William Easterling is a Professor of Geography (with a courtesy appointment in Agronomy) and Dean of the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He was trained as an economic geographer and climatologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his current research focuses on the potential for agriculture in developed and developing countries to adapt to climate variability and change, the role of scale in understanding the vulnerability of complex agro-ecosystems to environmental change. Other projects include investigating how land use change may influence the uptake and release of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, and the development of methodologies for detecting the impacts of observed 20th century climate change on natural and managed ecosystems.

See program page for panel descriptions

Who are the "Food and Technology" panelists?

Peter Frykman | DripTech

Frykman is the CEO of DripTech, a low cost drip irrigation solution developed at Stanford University by a group of MBA and graduate Engineering students. DripTech improves upon the current methods by eliminating all microtube emitters, resulting in a cost effective and easily used product for small farmers in developing nations. Frykman received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. His focus is on design and manufacturing for extreme affordability.

Virginia Walbot | Stanford University

Professor Walbot is an expert in the field of plant genomics. She graduated from Stanford University in 1967, received her master's degree and Ph.D. from Yale University in Biology (1967 and 1972, respectively), and completed NIH post-doctorate work in biochemistry at University of Georgia (1975). She is now a Professor of Biology at Stanford University and Director of the Walbot Lab, which currently emphasizes the developmental regulation of gene transposition in maize, among other projects. Her central research interests lie in the mechanisms that create allelic diversity and modulate genome stability in plants, which she is studying using the MuDR/Mu transposable elements in the maize life cycle. Professor Walbot has authored or coauthored over 100 papers and publications, including two books. She has served as a fellow for NSF, NIH, AAAS, and Guggenheim, and been awarded the Joan V. Wood and Hagerman Lectureships.

Ken Cassman | University of Nebraska

Dr. Kenneth G. Cassman currently serves as Director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences, and is the B. Keith and Norma F. Heuermann Professor of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska. He received a BSc degree in biology from the University of California--San Diego (1975) and a PhD in Agronomy and Soil Science from the University of Hawaii (1979). His expertise is centered within the disciplines of soil science, agroecology, and plant ecophysiology. His research activities have focused on: (1) plant nutrition, root ecophysiology, soil fertility and nutrient cycling to improve fertilizer efficiency and to reduce negative effects on environmental quality; (2) crop yield potential, soil carbon sequestration, and greenhouse gas emissions in maize-based cropping systems of the USA Corn Belt; and (3) the long-term sustainability of intensive crop production systems and global food security. His research can be found in numerous seminal journals. Recently he has focused attention on the role of agriculture in contributing to renewable energy supplies through production of ethanol and biodiesel fuels from cereal, oilseed, and sugar crops and the environmental impact of expanded biofuel production from agricultural crops. Over the last two decades, he has served on councils for sustainable agriculture, crop improvement, agriculture science and technology, and global food security. In addition, Professor Cassman has been elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Agronomy Association of America, the Soil Science Society of America, and the Crop Science Society of America.

See program page for panel descriptions