Agriculture News

December 18,2017

World Food Prize Laureate Catherine Bertini to deliver keynote at 2018 Fish Fry

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Since its inception in 1949, the annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry has featured keynote speeches from some of the country’s most prominent educators, business leaders, athletes and policymakers. In just the past few years, the list of speakers has included Don Thompson, president and CEO of McDonalds (2014); W. Dwight Armstrong, CEO of the National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation (2015); college basketball coaching legends Gene Keady of Purdue and Bob Knight of Indiana (2016); and Olympic diving champion David Boudia (2017).

This year’s keynote speaker brings equally impressive credentials. Catherine Bertini is former executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, a 2003 World Food Prize laureate, and one of the world’s leading experts on global food security.

“We are especially pleased to welcome Catherine Bertini to our annual homecoming celebration for the Indiana agricultural community,” said Danica Kirkpatrick, ag alumni program manager. “She offers a unique and vital perspective, not only on the global food crisis but also on the changing role of women in agriculture.”

As head of the World Food Programme from 1992-2002, Bertini led the U.N. response to food crises in North Korea, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo and was credited with helping to save millions of lives in famine-stricken regions. She was appointed humanitarian envoy to the Horn of Africa, Gaza and the West Bank by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and named one of the world's most powerful women by the Times of London in 1996.

Prior to joining the U.N., Bertini served as assistant secretary of agriculture for food and consumer services in the George H.W. Bush administration, overseeing 13 food assistance programs for low-income children and families.

Bertini is known as a leader of international organizations, advocating for agricultural development, educating women and girls, promoting options for women in leadership, and organizational and change management. She is currently a Rockefeller Foundation fellow and distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The 2018 Ag Alumni Fish Fry is scheduled for Feb. 3 at the Elements Financial Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

Doors open at 10 a.m. to give early arrivals a chance to visit Purdue Agriculture Avenue, an exhibit space highlighting event sponsors, and faculty, staff and student organizations from the Purdue College of Agriculture. The program begins at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets are now available for $25 each and must be purchased in advance at Parking permits are also available for the lots adjacent to the pavilion. Cars without permits will be charged $5 to park at the fairgrounds and will not be guaranteed spaces near the building.

Round-trip bus transportation from Lafayette is available for $10. Reservations are required and space is limited. Child care will be available at the fairgrounds but reservations are required by Jan. 12. 

Writer: Darrin Pack, 765-494-8415, 

Source: Danica Kirkpatrick, 765-494-8593,

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Shari Finnell, Manager/Media Relations and Public Information,  
Agriculture News Page

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