Presidential board on global hunger to meet at Purdue

October 5, 2015  

Gebisa Ejeta

Gebisa Ejeta 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A presidentially appointed board of international food policy advisers and specialists will bring their work to Purdue University on Oct. 20-21 as part of its collaboration with universities in seeking ways to alleviate world hunger.

Much of the meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, known as BIFAD, will be open to the public. The meeting will include discussions with experts in the science and policy of food production and food security from Purdue and elsewhere around the country.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels will moderate the closing session, which will include former Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt, acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. The board advises USAID on agriculture and higher education issues involving food insecurity in developing countries.

BIFAD was created as part of the 1975 amendment to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, Title XII Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger, which called for engaging U.S. universities in partnership with the government in dispensing technical assistance to poor nations. All board members are appointed by the U.S. president.  

The board typically meets two to three times a year, often in Washington, D.C., noted board member Gebisa Ejeta, a Purdue distinguished professor of agronomy and 2009 World Food Prize laureate.

"The current BIFAD chair established a new program for taking the board meetings to university campuses of board members to increase public awareness of this partnership," he said.

Ejeta, appointed by President Obama in 2010, pointed out that Purdue has had a long partnership with the U.S. government in overseas technical assistance programs. It precedes the 1961 creation of USAID when the university was given one of the early government contracts to help support the creation of the first agricultural university in Brazil.

Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, also cited Purdue's history of engagement around the world in working to combat hunger and achieve food security.

"Dr. Gebisa Ejeta is a global leader in these efforts, and we are delighted to host BIFAD on campus and highlight how Purdue faculty, staff and students across many disciplines are putting their expertise to work on the task of feeding our growing world population," said Akridge, who will moderate a panel on state, industry and university partnership in that effort.

The closing panel discussion with Daniels as moderator will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. Panelists in addition to Lenhardt, who most recently was U.S. ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, are Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and formerly USAID administrator and president of Michigan State University; Brady Deaton, chair of BIFAD and chancellor emeritus of the University of Missouri; and James Morris, former executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme and now president of Pacers Sports and Entertainment.

Public sessions on Oct. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. will be streamed live at

The full public agenda and other information about the meeting is available on the Purdue BIFAD website at

There also will be live tweets on Twitter that can be followed at "#BIFAD."           

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, 

Sources: Gebisa Ejeta, 765-494-4320,

Jay Akridge, 765-494-8391,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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