UC Davis’ World Food Center and two other UC programs will host the Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit in March, bringing together students, faculty, staff and others to share best practices and gain inspiration for their mission.
The World Food Center, UC Global Food Initiative and the Nutrition Policy Institute of UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources are co-hosting in partnership with the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University, home of Universities Fighting World Hunger, a coalition of nearly 300 institutions around the world.
This year’s summit, the 16th annual, will be held virtually, Thursday-Friday, March 25-26, and has the distinction of being the first to be hosted by a West Coast institution.
Chancellor Gary S. May will deliver opening remarks and UC President Michael V. Drake will share his thoughts on the power of student voices to affect change, a nod to the summit’s emphasis on student involvement.
“The goal of the summit is to bring together current and future leaders to see a world without hunger,” the organizers said in a news release that appears on the summit’s main webpage. “Students, administrators, faculty, staff and community partners will network and share ideas that lead to actions and impact at the campus, community and global levels.”
With a theme of “One Health. One Planet,” the summit will include interactive sessions on such topics as health equity, food security, innovations for addressing climate change, the power of student activism and advocacy locally and globally, the benefits of food hubs, and the interconnectivity of health and planet.
The agenda lists three keynote speakers:
- William Dietz, director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at George Washington University
- Rattan Lal, winner of the 2020 World Food Prize for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that restores and conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change
- Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute
The organizers noted they chose their “One Health. One Planet” theme before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and the summit will come at the pandemic’s one-year mark.
“The world continues to teeter on the precipice of a climate crisis [and] the risks of food insecurity have increased exponentially,” the organizers said. “The year 2021 will be about resilience and resurgence, both planetary and human, and our hope is the conference will provide attendees with tools, information and knowledge to collectively forge ahead as solutionists.”
Established in 2006, Universities Fighting World Hunger grew from Auburn University’s 2004 “war-on-hunger” partnership with the United Nations’ World Food Programme.
Each college and university in the network develops its own program, but all are committed to stimulate student awareness about hunger as a critical global issue and help students find ways to make meaningful contributions regardless of background, major or career path.