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May 21, 2013

Purdue to host 2nd summer institute on global food security

2012 Borlaug Summer Institute

Jim Beaty, superintendent of Purdue’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education, explains the agronomy farm to students of the 2012 Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security during the group's field trip there. With them is Gary Burniske (second from left), managing director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, which hosted the institute. The center will be the host of another institute May 28 to June 8. (Purdue Center for Global Food Security photo/Cininta Pertiwi)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A new group of graduate students representing the next generation of leaders that will tackle issues involving world hunger will assemble at Purdue University for the second Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security.

The two-week institute, hosted by the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, will be May 28 to June 8. Thirty-five graduate students from 25 U.S. universities, including Purdue, are in the 2013 class.

The institute is a component of a five-year program to train U.S. graduate students in food security and global challenges in sustainable agriculture and related fields such as climate change, water, energy, economics, policy, technology and the environment. It is part of the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security program, funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Students successfully completing the summer program are encouraged to apply for a Borlaug Fellows graduate research grant. Purdue student Ian Pope received a $15,000 grant to conduct research that focuses on detecting historical deforestation of the Guatemalan cloud forest and how inefficient agricultural practices in deforested areas threaten the long-term viability of soil quality for future generations.

"For me, the summer institute drove home the message that research aimed at solving the problems associated with global food security must take a trans-disciplinary approach," Pope said. "The collaboration between academia and governmental and non-governmental organizations is critical for us to gain traction in what is arguably one of the most daunting challenges of the 21st century."

The summer institute includes lectures, reviews of case studies, small-group discussions and field trips.

Instructors are from Purdue and other institutions. They include faculty, practitioners and policymakers who have expertise in the natural, social and health sciences, and engineering and in integrated approaches to solving problems.

Key speakers this year include Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer; Philip E. Nelson, retired Purdue food scientist and 2007 recipient of the World Food Prize; Lisa Eakman, executive director of the Global Agriculture and Food Initiative of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Pamela Anderson, director general of the International Potato Center.

Sofia Feng is among three students from the first institute who will return to tell the 2013 class how their experiences during the program have helped them in their education and research.

"The 2012 Borlaug Summer Institute has been one of the most remarkable moments during my journey as a graduate student in the U.S.," said Feng, who is from Costa Rica and is pursuing a doctorate in food science and nutrition at North Carolina State University.

Also returning to the institute for a presentation will be Julie Borlaug, assistant director for partnerships of The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. She is the granddaughter of the late Norman Borlaug, an agronomist and humanitarian for whom the institute is named.

Gebisa Ejeta, director of the Center for Global Food Security and 2009 World Food Prize laureate, will give a welcoming address May 29 before work sessions begin.

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Sources: Gary Burniske, 765-494-0941, grburniske@purdue.edu

Ian Pope, ipope@purdue.edu

Sofia Feng, sfeng4@ncsu.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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