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Borlaug Summer Institute on Food Security Launched at Purdue University

The inaugural Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security was held from July 8-21 on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The two-week program combined lectures, practicum, small group work, and farm site visits for a select group of 31 graduate students enrolled at U.S. universities. Students represented ten countries, including the United States, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh, and thirteen academic disciplines, ranging from plant pathology and agronomy to economics and conflict resolution. 

The goal of the Summer Institute is to provide participants with a holistic understanding of the conceptual challenges around global food security, with a focus on cross-disciplinary problem solving of real-world development challenges. Students had the opportunity to develop country-specific proposals written in response to a simulated USAID request for assistance. Purdue professors with experience in international development were brought in on the last day to simulate a donor panel, challenging students to defend their proposals.

Guest speakers for this year’s Summer Institute included 2009 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Gebisa Ejeta; Julie Borlaug, with Texas A&M University; Rob Bertram, Director of USAID’s Office of Agricultural Research and Policy; Peter Matlon, Adjunct Professor of Applied Economics at Cornell University; and Shenggen Fan, the Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute.

The Summer Institute is part of the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security program, funded by USAID under Feed the Future. The program strives to prepare the next generation of U.S. food security professionals with the scientific foundation needed to effectively study and manage the global landscape in support of sustainable food systems.

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