University leaders to gather at Auburn for inaugural hunger foru - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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University leaders to gather at Auburn for inaugural hunger forum

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An inaugural forum of university leaders will convene at Auburn University Feb. 27-28 to identify ways that collective action by universities can solve hunger. The ninth annual Universities Fighting World Hunger, or UFWH, summit will be begin immediately after the forum’s conclusion and run through March 2 with 300 students and educators from UFWH member institutions expected. The forum is organized by the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

The forum will be held at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. More than 50 university leaders from the United States, Canada and Central America, as well as senior representatives from the U.S. government, United Nations, private sector and foundations will be in attendance.

“They will identify obstacles as well as opportunities so universities can become a tipping point in helping our local communities, our nation and the world achieve food security for everyone,” said June Henton, dean of Auburn’s College of Human Sciences, founder of Universities Fighting World Hunger and executive director of the Hunger Solutions Institute. “Our collective voice – and our action – is so much stronger than each of us alone.”

At the invitation of Auburn University President Jay Gogue, forum attendees will include Alastair Summerlee, president, University of Guelph in Canada and chair of the Hunger Solutions Institute Board of Advisors; Brady Deaton, chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri and chair of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development; Robert Easter, president, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Mark Keenam, President of Mississippi State University; Matthew Jenkins, interim president, Tuskegee University; David Marin, president, Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan of Honduras; Richard Florizone, president, Dalhousie University in Canada; Elsa Murano, president emeritus, Texas A&M University and Norman Borlaug Institute director; as well as leaders from the U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Development Program and the U.N. World Food Programme.

The summit will feature a varied list of speakers from around the world, including Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), journalist and author Roger Thurow and former child soldier and U.N. leader Alfred Orono Orono. This marks the fourth time Auburn has hosted since the first summit in 2006. Auburn created Universities Fighting Hunger that year as a means of bringing colleges and universities together from around the world to share best practices for solving hunger. Since its founding, more than 300 colleges and universities from the United States, Canada and other countries have become active in the UFWH network.

“Anyone who has ever attended a Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit comes away with greater hope for the future,” Henton said. “They arrive at the summit as student leaders already committed to making the world a better place and leave more well-informed and prepared to inspire others on their campuses to become leaders in the fight to end this historic plague.”

One such student leader who will be recognized during the summit is Auburn’s Azeem Ahmed, a senior in finance and pre-med. Ahmed has been named winner of the 2014 President William Jefferson Clinton Hunger Leadership Award, an honor presented to only one university student each year.

The summit is open to anyone on campus or in the community, but registration is required. Registration information and a full schedule of events are available at www.universitiesfightingworldhunger.org. Those who want to attend Saturday only can pay a fee of $40 at the registration desk on Saturday morning. 

  HungerU, a mobile display from the Farm Journal Foundation designed to show how farmers are helping to feed the world, will be on the concourse by the Student Center before and during the summit. The HungerU Spring 2014 Tour exhibit features a 40- by 40-foot mobile education classroom, complete with large, flat-screen digital displays, interactive kiosks and pedal tractors.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

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