Stephanie Swinehart attends the 2018 Borlaug Food Security Summer Institute

Written by Guestblogger:  Stephanie Swinehart, IPED 2019

2018 Borlaug Food Security Summer Institute participants. Stephanie is on the 2nd row (standing row), 8th from the left.

I recently represented Fordham at the 2018 Borlaug Food Security Summer Institute at Purdue University from June 3-16 in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Institute, now in its seventh year, is an annual two-week program for graduate students interested in developing a holistic understanding of the conceptual challenges around global food security. Discussion topics ranged from genetics & plant breeding, ecology, and funding agricultural research to climate change, pastoralism, and the global challenge of meeting future energy demands. The two-week summit featured presentations from a team of experts in the academic and private sectors including Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize winner; Shenggen Fan, Secretary General of the International Food Policy Research Institute; and Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Norman Borlaug, the Institute’s namesake and recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize.

Stephanie with Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize winner
Stephanie presenting on her research at Fordham and on her work with UNDP

While there, I presented research that I have been conducting with a team at Fordham on pastoralism in East Africa and on my work as a program assistant at the United Nations Development Program in New York City. This opportunity not only allowed students to increase knowledge in new areas, but facilitated unexpected opportunities for collaboration between the social and agricultural sciences. While the challenges to global food security are great and often feel discouraging, the goal of the institute was to empower students with the multidisciplinary tools to be the next generation of changemakers in the field of food security and climate change.

Stephanie with other Institute participants
Millet variety test fields at Purdue University’s research farm