Author, expert on global food needs to speak at Purdue

September 27, 2012  

Sir Gordon Conway

Sir Gordon Conway
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Sir Gordon Conway, former president of the Rockefeller Foundation and an author, scholar and adviser to several governments and development agencies, will speak at Purdue on Oct. 12 as part of the Global Food Security Distinguished Lecture.

Conway, currently head of the Agriculture for Impact program at Imperial College in London whose new book "One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?" will be published in early October, will speak at 7 p.m. in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall.

The Purdue event, titled "An Evening with Sir Gordon Conway: Can We Feed the World?" is free and open to the public. The Distinguished Lecture is jointly sponsored by the Purdue Center for Global Food Security and the Purdue Climate Change Research Center in Discovery Park.

"A dynamic speaker and leader, Sir Gordon Conway will share his enthusiasm for the role of science and technology in addressing the challenges of global food security with sustainable practices and strategic planning," said Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy at Purdue and director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security.

Conway poses several urgent questions for our times - how will we feed a growing global population in the face of a wide range of adverse factors, including climate change, diminishing land, water and energy resources? And what can the social and natural sciences, joining with governments and industry, do to find lasting solutions?

Gebisa Ejeta

Gebisa Ejeta
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He has served as adviser to several agencies, including the Chicago Council for Global Affairs, the World Food Prize Foundation, the Royal Geographical Society and the United Kingdom's Department of International Development.

In the early 1960s, while working in Sabah, North Borneo, Conway became a pioneer of integrated pest management.

He joined Imperial College in 1970, forming the Centre for Environmental Technology in 1976. During the 1970s and 1980s, he lived and worked extensively in Asia and the Middle East, as well as for the Ford Foundation, World Bank and USAID.

Educated at the Universities of Wales (Bangor), Cambridge, Trinidad and California (Davis), Conway's discipline is agricultural ecology. He was named a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2005 and is a deputy lieutenant of the County of East Sussex.

Led by Ejeta, the Purdue Center for Global Food Security was launched in Discovery Park in 2010 to take up one of the world's most pressing challenges: getting enough food to people who need it the most today and producing enough to meet even greater future demands.

Ejeta, a native of Ethiopia, received the 2009 World Food Prize for his work in developing sorghum varieties resistant to drought and the parasitic weed Striga. His research dramatically increased the production and availability of sorghum for hundreds of millions of people in Africa, where it is a major crop.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Gebisa Ejeta, 765 494-4320,

Sir Gordon Conway, 44 (0)20 7594 1987,

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