Transforming agriculture key to ending world poverty, says Cornell dean

By Joseph Opoku Gakpo

September 12, 2019

Transforming the world’s agriculture is crucial if poverty across the globe is to be ended, said Kathryn Boor, dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

“If we are serious about ending extreme hunger and poverty around the world, we must be serious about transforming agriculture,” she said, quoting renowned philanthropist Bill Gates in her remarks to a welcome picnic for the 2019 Cornell Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellows.

The picnic marked the first formal week of instruction in the intensive 12-week Global Leadership Fellows Program (GLFP), which is designed to equip and empower emerging international leaders who are committed to advocating for science-based communications and access to scientific innovation in their home countries as a means to help end world hunger.

With the global population expected to surpass 9 billion people by the middle of the century, “our agricultural issues present us with grand challenges,” Boor said.

“That is why this program (Alliance for Science) is so important,” she told the gathering. “Through our college’s international programs, which include Alliance for Science, our researchers are building on a century of partnerships to improve food systems around the world.  It is partnerships such as this one that are important as we work to change the world for the better through purpose driven science.”

Boor assured the 2019 Fellows of the college’s support in helping them deal with the world’s food security issues.

“As Global Leadership Fellows, you join our global network of science allies working to solve the world’s most pressing food system challenges. We are proud to support you and your goals to become the next generation of leaders in your communities around the world,” she said.

“I am certain that each of you will make your own unique contributions while you are here in your new home,” Boor added. “We look forward to your many successes and we will follow your career as we look to the future.”

Sarah Evanega, director of the Alliance for Science, described 2019 as a special year as the Alliance turns 5. The GLFP is hosting its fourth and largest cohort — 32 Fellows from 15 countries.

This year’s Fellows hail from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Philippines, Paraguay, Rwanda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Over the next three months they will be trained on the Cornell University campus in strategic planning, grassroots organizing and innovative communications, with a strong focus on stories about science and effective communications around agricultural biotechnology.