Ensuring the world can feed its people will be the topic Thursday, Nov. 15, when 2003 World Food Prize Laureate Catherine Bertini delivers a Heuermann Lecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.Bertini will speak at 3:30 p.m. in Hardin Hall on UNL's East Campus.
In her lecture, Bertini will talk about a world where food costs more than rent; where certain types of basic foods are not available; where people riot for food, and governments establish policies to bar food exports.
Actually, Bertini says, all those actions occurred somewhere in the world in the last several years, adding, "if the world is not successful in growing 60 percent more food by mid-century, these problems could be on our doorsteps, as well."
The United States is positioned to play a leadership raole to ensure enough food is grown and accessible throughout the world so that by 2050, each country, most communities and many more families can be stronger and much more self-sufficient in food production, Bertini said.
"America's tools include its innovative private sector, the excellent education and research available at land-grant universities, its government agencies supporting development, its active non-governmental organizations, and the strong commitment of its citizens to help people throughout the world help themselves to improve their lives," she added.
"This requires strong, even outspoken, leadership by the U.S. president, administration, Congress and people," Bertini said. "The U.S. has always been generous. Now we need to be smarter, stronger and more focused in our work in order to meet the challenges of this millennium."
Bertini was the driving force behind reform of the United Nations World Food Programme when she served 10 years as WFP chief executive. She was honored as a World Food Prize Laureate for her WFP leadership in ending famine and decreasing hunger. WFP's institutional changes under her leadership were cited by the U.S. government and the WFP's 36-government board as models of UN reform, and placed the food aid agency in the forefront of international agencies in efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and income.
Bertini was widely praised for her efforts at the UN WFP to end famine in North Korea, avert starvation in Afghanistan, ensure food was delivered effectively during crises in Bosnia and Kosovo, quickly reach Hurricane Mitch flood victims in Central America, and avert mass starvation in the Horn of Africa.
Following her WFP assignment, Bertini held other key positions for the UN, and served twice as the secretary-general's envoy, once for drought in the Horn of Africa, and once for humanitarian needs in Gaza and the West Bank. She continues to organize assistance to increase the number of girls in developing countries' schools.
"Catherine Bertini's insight and expertise into what it takes to feed the world – in times of crisis and long-term – and her untiring passion for and devotion to this work, make her a wonderful addition to our Heuermann Lecturers," said Ronnie Green, Harlan vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, home of the Heuermann (pronounced Hugh-er-man) Lectures.
"In July 2010 she was named as the only U.S. member on the new High Level Panel of Experts which advises the Committee on Food Security in Rome. President George W. Bush appointed her and President Barack Obama reappointed her as a member of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development which advises the U.S. Agency for International Development. We very much look forward to her lecture."
Bertini is a professor of public administration and international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She is considered a leader in public sector management, international organizations, humanitarian relief, agricultural development, gender programming and nutrition policy.
She also is co-chair of the Global Agricultural Development Initiative of The Chicago Council of Global Affairs, chair of its Girls in Rural Economies Initiative and co-chair of its U.S. Agriculture and Food Policy. For two years she was a senior fellow, agricultural development, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Heuermann Lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the people of the world, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.
They are made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.
The lecture streams live at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu, and all Heuermann Lectures are archived at that site shortly after the lecture. Heuermann Lectures are broadcast on NET2 World at a date following the lecture.