The World Food Prize Foundation

2010 Speaker Biographies

 Kofi Annan | Robert Berendes | Christian Borgemeister | Howarth Bouis | Howard Buffett | Florence Chenoweth Gordon Conway | Sean de Cleene | Rolf Derpsch | Joe DeVries | Shenggen Fan | Jose Fernandez | Marco Ferroni | Christopher Flavin | Louise Fresco | Eleni Gabre-Madhin | Dennis Garrity | Nazar Gondal | Stephanie Hanson | Nuhu Hatibu | Dyno Keatinge | Kamal El-Kheshen | Matt Kistler  Rattan Lal Uma Lele | Phillip Nelson | Ruth Oniango | Gregory PageShivaji Pandey | Amrita Patel | Christie Peacock | Alice Pell Prabhu Pingali | Mohammed RahimiJeff Raikes | Pedro Sanchez | Carlos Seré | Rajiv Shah | Thad Simons | M.S. SwaminathanJoseph Taets | Deepak Tikku | Camilla Toulmin | Ajay Vashee | Thomas Vilsack | Vo-Tong Xuan | Derek Yach | Robert Zeigler

H.E. Kofi A. Annan
Chairman, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
2001 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Mr. Annan was the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, serving two terms from January 1997 through December 2006, and was the first secretary-general to emerge from the ranks of UN staff. In 2001 Mr. Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for “bringing new life to the organization.” Since leaving the United Nations, Mr. Annan has continued to work on mediation and global conflict resolution through the Kofi Annan Foundation, with particular emphasis on Africa and African issues. In Kenya in early 2008, Mr. Annan led the African Union’s Panel of Eminent African Personalities to help find a peaceful resolution to the post-election violence in that country.

In addition to his work with the Kofi Annan Foundation and AGRA, Mr. Annan serves as the chairman of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), the Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and Concordia 21, as well as being an active member of the Elders. He is also a board member, patron, or honorary member of organizations including: the UN Foundation, the World Economic Forum, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Club of Madrid, and The International Crisis Group. Mr. Annan currently serves as the Chancellor of the University of Ghana, a Global Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in the United States, and Li Ka Shing Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.


Dr. Robert Berendes
Global Head of Business Development, Syngenta International AG

Dr. Berendes’s career at Syngenta – a diverse, internationally leading agribusiness focused on increasing crop productivity, protecting the environment, and improving health and quality of life through plant science – began in 2002 as head of strategy, planning, and mergers & acquisitions. He served as head of diverse field crops from 2005 to 2006 before taking his current position.

Prior to joining Syngenta, Dr. Berendes was a partner and co-leader of the European chemical practice at McKinsey & Company, where he worked as a consultant from 1995 to 2002. Previously, he was a process engineer with Procter & Gamble. He graduated from the University of Cologne with a diploma in chemistry and has a PhD in Biophysics from the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry/Technical University of Munich.


Dr. Christian Borgemeister
Director General, icipe

In May 2005, Dr. Borgemeister became the third director of icipe, a 40-year old pan-African research center headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with a focus on insect science for food and health in Africa. He had previously worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the integrated control of an invasive storage pest in Africa, and as a faculty member of Justus-Liebig University Giessen and Leibniz University Hannover, both in Germany.

Dr. Borgemeister holds a degree in agricultural engineering from the Georg-August University of Goettingen and a PhD in horticultural entomology from Leibnitz University Hannover. In his career, he has worked extensively in tropical Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. He has authored and co-authored more than 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals, co-edited a book on the history of biological control in Africa, and contributed chapters to several scientific books. Dr. Borgemeister is a member of several international scientific organizations and a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.


Dr. Howarth Bouis
Director, HarvestPlus

Dr. Bouis, in his position as director of HarvestPlus, coordinates an interdisciplinary, global alliance of research centers and implementing agencies to biofortify and disseminate micronutrient-dense staple food crops with significant impact on improving nutrition. Since 1993, he has sought to promote biofortification activities both within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), including their National Agricultural Research and Extension System (NARES) partners, and in the international nutrition community. Bouis holds a joint appointment at IFPRI in Washington, DC, where he is based, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. 

In addition, he received his B.A. in Economics from Stanford University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University's Food Research Institute. Before entering graduate school, he spent three years in the Philippines with Volunteers in Asia.


Howard Buffett                                                                                                                                                                                                         President, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation

Mr. Buffett operates a 1,240-acre family farm in central Illinois, manages a 400-acre family-owned farm in eastern Nebraska, and oversees two research farms operated by his namesake foundation: 1,308 acres in Illinois and 9,200 acres in South Africa. The Howard G. Buffett foundation, which he manages, primarily supports humanitarian initiatives. Mr. Buffett also serves on the boards of Berkshire Hathaway; Lindsay Corporation, a world-wide leader in the manufacturing of agricultural irrigation products; and Sloan Implement, a privately owned distributor of John Deere agricultural equipment in North America.

Mr. Buffett received the Aztec Eagle Award from the President of Mexico in 2000, the highest honor bestowed on a foreign citizen by the Government of Mexico. In 2002, he was recognized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture as one of the most distinguished individuals in agriculture. In 2005, he received the Will Owen Jones Distinguished Journalist of the Year Award, and in 2007, he was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger on behalf of the World Food Program.


H.E. Florence Chenoweth

Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Liberia


Dr. Chenoweth is currently serving her second term as Liberia's minister of agriculture. She previously worked for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as the executive director of the liaison office, and as the FAO’s representative in Gambia and South Africa. In addition, Dr. Chenoweth has served as the Distinguished International Visitor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of International Studies, and has also been the managing director of UW-Madison’s Human Rights Initiative.


Dr. Chenoweth received her Masters of Science degree in 1970 as well as her Ph.D. in Land Resources in 1986. She earned both degrees while studying at UW-Madison.




Sir Gordon Conway
Professor of International Development, Imperial College London
World Food Prize Council of Advisors
Dr. Conway, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005, is a world renowned agricultural ecologist and is recognized as one of the first experts to define the concept of sustainable agriculture. As president of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1998 to 2005, he worked to increase that organization’s attention to ecological and food security issues, particularly the promise and challenges presented by biotechnology in the context of world hunger.

Dr. Conway’s field experience has included pioneering integrated pest management in Borneo in the 1960s, and developing agroecosystems analysis in Thailand. From 1970 to 1986, he was Professor of Environmental Technology at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London.  He also directed the sustainable agriculture program of the International Institute for Environment and Development in London before becoming a representative of the Ford Foundation in New Delhi.  He is the author of several books – including The Doubly Green Revolution – and currently serves as president of the Royal Geographic Society.


Sean de Cleene                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Vice President, Global Business Development and Public Affairs                                                                                                                         Yara International

Mr. de Cleene has co-founded several companies and organizations working in sustainability and emerging market development, including the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship, and has previously chaired or participated in a number of key African and UN committees on issues including food security, agriculture development, banking, corporate governance, and stock-exchange index development. At Norway-based Yara International, the world’s leading supplier of mineral fertilizers, his works to define developing-country business and market opportunities and broker relevant public-private partnership solutions.

Mr. de Cleene is currently part of the technical committee of the Africa Progress Panel Business Action Group and a member of the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture and Financing Sustainable Land Use boards. He is also the business initiator for the Beira and Dar es Salaam Agricultural Growth Corridors and Malawi Agricultural Partnership and vice chair of the Tanzania Kilimo Kwanza Growth Corridors Executive Committee. He has a BA in law from the University of Sydney and an MSc in international development practices from Oxford, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Senior Executive Program.


Rolf W. Derpsch
Senior Technical Advisor (ret.), German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)

Mr. Derpsch is a globally renowned soil scientist noted as one of the innovators behind the promotion of no-till and conservation agriculture around the world. From 1966 to 2001 he was affiliated with GTZ, working extensively with medium- and small-scale farmers and indigenous groups in Latin America as well as countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe on research and training projects related to soil management, erosion and desertification prevention, sustainable agricultural practices, and on-farm research and technology, particularly for small food producers.

As a consultant to the FAO and other international organizations, Mr. Derpsch has also worked in countries including North Korea, South Africa, and Tajikistan. His expertise has also been sought widely at over 60 international conferences and technical meetings and as the author of more than 90 publications. A Chilean-born national of German descent who currently resides in Paraguay, Mr. Derpsch holds degrees in agronomy and agricultural extension from Adolfo Matthei Agricultural College in Osorno, Chile, and the University of Reading, England.


Dr. Joseph DeVries
Director, Program for Africa’s Seed Systems, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

In 2001, following a two-year period of study of the problems surrounding continued, low yields in African agriculture, he co-authored a book with Dr. Gary Toenniessen which proposed radically new strategies for employing plant breeding and seed delivery to spearhead an African Green Revolution. He then spearheaded The Rockefeller Foundation’s investments in this area, making investments which led to the development of hundreds of improved crop varieties, many of which are now being grown on farmers’ fields. The program also created a number of new centers of innovation in Africa, including several Ph.D. fellowship programs, a venture capital fund for agri-business, a business development service for African seed companies, several crop breeding networks, and a web portal serving the African crop sciences and seed systems community.

In 2006, DeVries led a design team composed of officers of The Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and over 40 other professionals in the creation of a $150 million initiative on crop genetic improvement and seed systems development, which became the first initiative of the newly-formed Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). DeVries has served as Director of AGRA’s “Program for Africa’s Seed Systems” since January, 2007. To-date, the program has produced 15,000 tons of certified seed through 40 start-up seed companies spread across 13 African countries.


Dr. Shenggen Fan
Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Dr. Fan was appointed director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in December 2009. After joining IFPRI in 1995 as a research fellow, he led IFPRI’s program on public investment and later became the director of IFPRI’s Development Strategy and Governance Division. He has conducted extensive research on pro-poor development strategies in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. His work has helped identify which kinds of public spending are most effective in reducing poverty and generating agricultural growth.

Before joining IFPRI, Dr. Fan held positions at the International Service for National Agricultural Research in the Netherlands and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at the University of Arkansas. He received his Ph.D. in applied economics from the University of Minnesota and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Nanjing Agricultural University in China.
He has served on the editorial boards of various academic journals and is currently an Executive Committee member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. He has also received many awards, including the Distinguished Professional Contribution Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and the Outstanding Alumni Award in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota. 


Jose W. Fernandez                                                                                                                                                                                                  Assistant Secretary - Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs                                                                                                                            Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State

 Mr. Fernandez serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. He leads the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development, and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas.

Mr. Fernandez came to the State Department after having served as a partner in the New York office  of Latham & Watkins, and Global Chair of the firm's Latin America practice. For nearly three decades, his practice has focused on Latin America, Europe and Africa, advising clients on international mergers and acquisitions, financings, trade and other matters as the economies of these regions have evolved. Mr. Fernandez graduated magna cum laude with high honors from Dartmouth College earning a bachelors degree in history, and also received an honorary degree from the college. He earned a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law, where he received the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with Honors.


 Marco Ferroni                                                                                                                                                                                                    Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation

An expert in international agriculture and sustainability issues, Dr. Ferroni joined the Syngenta Foundation in 2008, after a career in multilateral institutions and government. Before joining the Foundation, Dr. Ferroni worked at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank in Washington DC. As a Deputy Manager of the Sustainable Development Department of the IDB, he had responsibility for regional sector policy and technical support to the Bank's country departments. As a senior advisor at the World Bank he advised on donor relations and directed work on international public goods and their role in foreign aid and international affairs.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Ferroni was an economist and division chief in the government of Switzerland, working in development cooperation. He holds a doctoral degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University. Dr. Ferroni has worked in Latin America, Africa and Asia and is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker on topics that include agriculture, food security, development finance, and trade.


Christopher Flavin

President, Worldwatch Institute


Currently, Mr. Flavin is President of the Worldwatch Institute (WI), a foundation which aims to help decision makers create an environmentally sustainable energy system that can meet the world’s needs. Mr. Flavin also co-authors the WI’s annual State of the World report. Before becoming the President of the WI, Mr. Flavin held positions as the WI’s Senior Vice President and Vice President for Research. Additionally, Mr. Flavin has written three books. One, entitled Power Surge: Guide to the Coming Energy Revolution, predicted today’s growing energy trends.


Further, Mr. Flavin frequently speaks to policy makers, university students, and businesses about environmental issues. Some of Mr. Flavin’s speaking events have included the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference, the Ethanol Summit in Sao Paulo, and the 11th World Congress of Public Health in Sao Paulo. Mr. Flavin is an active member of organizations such as the Climate Institution for Global Environmental Strategies, the American Council on Renewable Energy, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, and the Greentech Innovation Network. Mr. Flavin graduated from Williams College where he pursued studies in biology, economics, and environmental studies.




Dr. Louise Fresco

Professor, University of Amsterdam

Council of Advisors, World Food Prize


Dr. Fresco did research for her M.Sc. in Zambia and upon graduation from Wageningen University, served as a UN volunteer in Papua New Guinea for two years. This led to further extensive international experience in Africa and Latin America throughout her career. She went on to receive her Ph.D. cum laude in Tropical Crop Science at Wageningen University, in 1986. From 1990 to 1997 she served as Professor of Plant Production Systems and Chair of the Department of Agronomy at the same institution. From 1997 to 2006, she held various positions at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, including that of Assistant Director-General of the Agriculture Department in Rome, Italy. Currently, she is the Professor of Foundations of Sustainable Development in International Perspective at the University of Amsterdam.

Dr. Fresco has served in various capacities (member, director, etc.) at numerous national and international institutions including the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, the Real Academia de Ingeniería in Spain, the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Asia Vegetable Research Development Center and CIRAD. She has served as president of the Advisory Council for Research on Nature and Environment in the Netherlands, vice-chair of the Council of the United Nations University, and is a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Supervisory Board of Rabobank and Crown member of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands. Presently, she serves as non-executive director at Unilever and has been appointed as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) as well as a member of the independent review committee of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the InterAcademy Council.


Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopia Commodity Exchange

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange since 2008, is an internationally recognized thought leader on agricultural marketing in Africa and global development, with a career spanning both research and development practice and now business. Prior to returning to her native Ethiopia, she served as Senior Research Fellow with the Washington-based think tank, the International Food Policy Research Institute. Dr. Eleni has also held positions as Senior Economist with the World Bank and as Commodity Trading Expert with the United Nations in Geneva. She has worked extensively over the past 18 years with traders and markets in over 9 African countries.

Dr. Eleni holds a PhD in applied economics from Stanford University, an MSc in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and BA in economics from Cornell University. She recently represented the African business community at the G20 Business Summit in London and sits on several advisory groups, including the Expert Group on Development Issues (EGDI) for the Government of Sweden, the Economic Commission for Africa expert group on sustainable development, and the Stiglitz Task Force on Africa. She is a Founding Fellow and Board Member of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and was recently nominated Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year by African Business Awards.


Dr. Dennis Garrity
Director General, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF)
Dr. Garrity has held his position at the head of the World Agroforestry Center, based in Nairobi, Kenya, since 2002, and is also currently serving as chair of the CGIAR Inter-Centre Working Group on Climate Change. From 1992 to 2002 he served as regional coordinator of the ICRAF Southeast Asia program, based in Bogor, Indonesia . He created the regional program, led the systems improvement research in the region to develop and evaluate agroforestry alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture, and also worked extensively on the development of conservation-oriented agroforestry systems for sloping uplands.

Dr. Garrity previously served as agronomist/crop ecologist and head of the agroecology unit at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines between 1982 and 1992. He has been active in the development of institutional innovations related to farmer-led organizations in sustainable agriculture and natural resources management. He has a B.Sc. degree in agriculture from Ohio State University, an M.Sc. in agronomy from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, and a Ph.D. in crop physiology from the University of Nebraska.


H.E. Nazar Mohammad Gondal
Minister for Food and Agriculture, Pakistan
Minister Gondal, a farmer by occupation, was first elected to the National Assembly in 1993 and again in February 2008. He has held his current portfolio since November 2008, prior to which time he served as federal minister for narcotics control. Prior positions within Minister Gondal’s public service career have included an appointment as parliamentary secretary for the Establishment Division, the administrative arm of the central government, and a his election to lead the Mandi Bahauddin District, located in the Punjab region, with a tenure from 2001-2004. He holds a bachelor of laws degree and is actively involved in advocacy for agriculture.


Stephanie Hanson                                                                                                                                                                                                      Director of Policy and Outreach, One Acre Fund

Stephanie Hanson is the director of policy and outreach at One Acre Fund. From 2006 to 2009, she covered economic and political development in Africa and Latin America for, the website of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2008, she won a News and Documentary Emmy for Crisis Guide: Darfur, an interactive media guide that explores the history and context of the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Bookforum, San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday, and on the websites of the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post.


Dr. Nuhu Hatibu                                                                                                                                                                                                          CEO, Kilimo Trust

Nuhu Hatibu is currently the the Chief Executive Officer of the Kilimo Trust. Before Joining Kilimo Trust, Nuhu was the founding regional coordinator of the Soil and Water Management Network for East, Central, and Southern Africa. He is an agricultural engineer and was a professor at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania where for 12 years he led the soil and water management research group, which is credited with researching and promoting rainwater harvesting, and making it a central plank of Tanzania’s water management strategy.

Nuhu is experienced in project development and management, knowledge management, strategy formulation, and in capacity building through professional development programmes and consultancy. He is widely published – one book, 12 book chapters, and more than 20 international refereed papers. Nuhu invests in construction, furniture making, and farming companies in Tanzania.


Dr. John D.H. (Dyno) Keatinge
Director General, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center
Vice-Chairman, Global Horticultural Initiative

An agronomist who has worked professionally on every continent except Antarctica, Dr. Keatinge has led the World Vegetable Center since 2008. He has extensive expertise in crop agronomy, having worked at the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas in Syria, Pakistan, and Turkey; at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria and Cameroon; and at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (where he was deputy director general) in India and several sub-Saharan African countries.

Dr. Keatinge currently serves as vice-chair of the Global Horticultural Initiative and on the international advisory board of the recently announced USAID Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program. He also maintains his affiliation as a professor of tropical agriculture at the University of Reading, where he taught from 1993 to 1999. He has published more than 85 articles. Dr. Keatinge, an Irish citizen, holds degrees in agronomy, crop physiology, agroclimatology, and geography from the University of Bristol, the University of Manitoba, and Queen’s University in Belfast.


Dr. Kamal El-Kheshen                                                                                                                                                                                                      Vice President, African Development Bank

Dr. El-Kheshen, an Egyptian national, was appointed in 2009to his current position at the African Development Bank, where he oversees several departments and units delivering support to the regional member countries in the areas of human development, financial governance, economic and financial reforms, agriculture and agro-industry, sustainable development, fragile states, health and education.

Dr. El-Kheshen was among the pioneer staff of the Bank when he joined the institution as senior economist in 1987.  In 1994, he moved to establish the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) where as senior director he was in charge of the bank’s operations and lending until 2010. Before he joined the AfDB, he was an assistant professor at Ain Shams University in Cairo from 1982-1987. Dr. El-Kheshen obtained his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Oxford University in 1982. He earned a master’s degree in agricultural economics at the University of California-Davis in 1979 and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Ain Shams University in 1974.


Matt Kistler                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Senior Vice President, Marketing                                                                                                                                                                            Walmart

Matt Kistler is the Senior Vice President of marketing for Walmart. Prior to this role, he was responsible for Walmart’s global sustainability strategy and the integration of sustainability into Walmart’s business strategies, encouraging the company’s 100,000 suppliers to innovate, collaborate and support Walmart’s key sustainability goals and to integrate sustainability into the brand and culture of the company by engaging the more than 2 million Walmart associates globally. Matt joined Walmart in 2003, and since then has held positions in private brands, product and packaging innovations, and marketing insights. From 2007-2010, he served as the Senior Vice President of Sustainability.

Prior to joining Walmart, Matt held marketing, strategy, and sales management positions with Kraft Foods, Oscar Mayer and General Foods. Matt serves on the boards of Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, Center for Responsible Business and the Foundation Board of NARTI and Hope Cancer Resources. He has a B.A in Marketing from Michigan State University and an M.B.A from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.


Dr. Rattan Lal                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Director, Carbon Management and Sequestration Center                                                                                                                                       Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center

Rattan Lal is a Professor of Soil Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. He is the Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Professor Lal conducts research in carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems, soil dynamics and processes, and natural resources management with emphasis on food security and environmental quality in the United States, Africa, Latin America, and India.

Professor Lal is the recipient of prestigious Norman E. Borlaug Award (2005) and the von Liebig Award (2006) for his contributions and research in sustainable management of soil and natural resources. His service to professional organizations includes Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Soil Science, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Soil & Tillage Research, and Past-President of the Soil Science Society of America. He is a fellow of the Soil Science Society of American, the American Society of Agronomy, the Third World Academy of Sciences and the American Association for Advancement of Science. He is a member of the U.S. National Committee of Soil Science, and was a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.N. Millennium Assessment. 


Dr. Uma Lele
Senior advisor (ret.), World Bank

Dr. Lele is a recognized international leader, thinker, and policy analyst; her areas of work include food, agriculture, health, environment, global public goods, science and technology, external assistance, and partnerships. Dr. Lele was a member of the FAO’s External Independent Evaluation Panel in 2006-2007 and led the first retrospective evaluation of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in 2008-2009. Most recently she led a global team of authors in the preparation of the central theme paper for the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), held in March 2010, in Montpellier, France.

Dr. Lele’s numerous advisory services include IFAD’s Quality Assurance Panel, the High Level External Advisory Panel on UNICEF’s Evaluation of Global Program and Partnerships, work with the MacArthur Foundation, the Global Environmental Facility’s External Advisory Group, the Technical Advisory Committee of the Global Water Partnership, the World Bank’s High Level Expert Group on Knowledge Partnerships, and Cornell University President’s Council of Cornell Women.  She currently serves on the board of directors of the MSSRF, the Institute of Development Studies, and ENGENDERHEALTH. 


Dr. Phillip Nelson

Scholle Chair Professor, Purdue University

2007 World Food Prize Laureate


In 2007, Dr. Phillip Nelson won the World Food Prize award for his innovative and extensive research into technologies that have revolutionized the food industry, especially in the area of large-scale food processing using bulk aseptic food processing. Although Dr. Nelson is currently retired, he is a Scholle Chair Professor and teachers Food Processing at Purdue University. Prior to his retirement, Dr. Nelson was a Professor Emeritus at Purdue. Dr. Nelson has written extensively and has helped author and co-author more than sixty five papers and books. A couple of his works include Fruit and Vegetable Juice Processing and Principles of Aseptic Processing and Packaging of Food.


Further, Dr. Nelson has been the recipient of many prestigious awards. These awards include: the Institute of Food Technology’s Nicholas Appert Award, the Food Processing Putnam Award, National Award for Agricultural Excellence, Forty-niner Service Award, USDA Secretary’s Award for Personal and Professional Excellence, and the H.D. Brown Food Processing Person of the Year Award.  Dr. Nelson earned a Bachelors of Science degree in general agriculture from Purdue in 1956. In 1967, he then went on to earn his doctorate while studying the volatility of flavors in canned tomatoes while at Purdue. (See more on Nelson)


Prof. Ruth Oniang’o
Founder and editor-in-chief, African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development
Founder and leader, Rural Outreach Programme (Kenya)

Professor Oniang’o is a noted leader in outreach to and work with smallholder farmers in Kenya, both through her work with the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development and with the Rural Outreach Programme, an NGO that supports resource-poor farmer groups engaged in production and agro-processing at the community level. As a member of Kenyan Parliament from 2003 to 2007, she worked to create awareness about poverty and hunger, with special focus on science and technology, agricultural research and productivity, food security, nutrition, bio-safety legislation, fertilizer and other input use, HIV/AIDS, and gender issues. She currently chairs Kenya’s Food Security and Nutrition Taskforce, which provides oversight for the implementation of the National Food and Nutrition Policy.

Professor Oniang’o served as lecturer and professor of food science and nutrition at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi and is assisting Great Lakes University of Kisumu with its postgraduate, research and partnership programs. She has served on several national and international boards and advisory committees for the FAO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agriculture Strategy Advisory Committee, IFDC, IRRI, CGIAR, IFPRI, HarvestPlus, and numerous private sector entities. She is currently a member of the Sasakawa Africa Association Board of Trustees, is an advisor to the University of Leeds Africa College Initiative, and was recently admitted to the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research. 



Gregory Page
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Gregory Page serves as Chairman and CEO of Cargill. He was chosen to be the CEO in June, 2007 and Chairman of the Board in September, 2007. Further, Page continues to hold the office of President, a position to which he was elected in June 2000. He was elected to the Cargill Board of Directors in August 2000. Page joined Cargill in 1974 as a trainee assigned to the Feed Division. Over the years, he held a number of positions in the United States and Singapore. Page worked with the start-up of a poultry processing operation in Thailand, the beef and pork processing operations of Cargill’s Excel subsidiary in Wichita, Kansas, and the Financial Markets Group in Minneapolis.  


In addition, Page serves as a member of Eaton Corporation’s board of directors. Also, he serves as Chair of the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Page received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of North Dakota.
Dr. Shivaji Pandey                                                                                                                                                                                                       Director of Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Dr. Pandey has worked for over 30 years in international agricultural research and development, serving as a scientist, Regional Representative for South America, Director of Maize Program, and Director of African Livelihoods Program at International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico and in its outreach programs. In 2005, Dr. Pandey joined the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as Director of Agricultural Support Systems Division. In 2006, he was appointed the Director of Plant Production and Protection Division at FAO to lead work on increasing production and quality of all food and non-food crops to enhance food security and livelihoods.

Although born and raised in India, Dr. Pandey obtained his MS and Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin. Among honors and awards include a D. Sc. from the Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology (India), a Fellowship to the American Society of Agronomy, a Fellowship to the Crop Science Society of America, and special recognitions from the governments of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Vietnam. Dr. Pandey has authored or co-authored over 150 publications.

Dr. Amrita Patel
Chairman, National Dairy Development Board
As the Dairy Board’s Managing Director and later as Chairman, Dr Patel was responsible for the implementation of the national dairy program, Operation Flood. The program has helped to promote, finance, and deliver a variety of supporting services to a national cooperative dairy structure that presently includes more than 13 million members. Further, Dr Patel was responsible for establishing the largest Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine production facility in Asia. Dr. Patel has been a Director on the Central Board of Directors for the Reserve Bank of India and a Director on the Board of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). She was also a member on the Board of the International Livestock Research Institute and is presently a member of the Board of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Her activities have not been confined to livestock and dairying. In 1988, Dr Patel set upthe National Tree Growers' Cooperative Federation (NTGCF). Realizing the limitations of the NTGCF’s work, she set up the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) which has a wider scope and a broader vision thatlead to strengthening the different ecosystems in which these projects are located. In addition, she was a Trustee of the World Wide Fund for Nature in India. She is a member of the Board of Governors, Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development, Chairman of the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Chairman of the Board of Management of the Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute. Lastly, Dr. Patel has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Dr. Norman Borlaug Award for contributions in the field of dairy development and animal husbandry. 


Dr. Christie Peacock
Chief Executive, FARM-Africa (Food and Agricultural Research Management for Africa)

Dr. Peacock is an animal scientist who has worked in applied research and development on traditional livestock systems in Africa and Southeast Asia. She had previously worked for the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization as adviser to the Indonesian government livestock research system, and administered a post-graduate course in agricultural systems at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand for FAO. On joining FARM-Africa, an international non- governmental organisation that aims to reduce poverty through developing innovative approaches to natural resource management in Africa, Dr. Peacock ran a dairy goat development project in Ethiopia.

Dr. Peacock currently leads FARM-Africa in its projects, working in partnership with smallholder farmers and herders to improve the ways in which they farm their land through a focus on three priority areas: pastoral development, community forest management, and smallholder development and land reform. Dr. Peacock also serves on the editorial board of World Agriculture and as a founding member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Agriculture and Food for Development and GALVmed. She is a board member of the International Goat Association, has advised DFID’s Livestock Research Program, and was recently named a fellow of the Institute of Biology and the Royal Agricultural Societies of England.


Dr. Alice Pell
Vice Provost for International Affairs, Cornell University

Dr. Pell joined the Cornell University faculty in 1990. Upon joining, she taught Animal Science courses in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In 2005, she was promoted to the position of the Director of Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD). As the Director of CIIFAD, Dr. Pell has worked with economists, soil scientists, and rural sociologists to create a bio-economic model of smallholder crop-livestock systems. In addition, Dr. Pell has been involved with the West Water Africa Initiative. Presently, Dr. Pell is researching tropical farming systems.

In addition, Dr. Pell earned a masters degree in international education at Harvard University. Further, she earned a M.S. degree and a Ph.D. at the University of Vermont in animal science. Prior to this, she was a cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College. After attending Radcliffe College, Dr. Pell joined the Peace Corps and travelled to Botswana where she taught English, history, developmental studies, and geography.


Dr. Prabhu Pingali
Deputy Director of Agricultural Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Pingali has three decades of experience analyzing food, agriculture and development policy in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. An Indian national, he earned a Ph.D. in economics from North Carolina State University in 1982. He was director of the Economics Program at CIMMYT, Mexico from 1996 to 2002. Prior to joining CIMMYT, he worked as an economist at the International Rice Research Institute at Los Baños, Philippines from 1987 to 1996 and at the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department from 1982 to 1987. Dr. Pingali has authored ten books and over 100 referred journal articles and book chapters on food policy, technological change, productivity growth, and resource management in the developing world. He has received several international awards and recognitions for his work.

Currently the deputy director of the agricultural development division of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Pingali formerly served as director of the Agricultural and Development Economics division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations, from 2002to 2007. Pingali was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a foreign fellow in May 2007. He was president of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) from 2003-2006. He was elected fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association in 2006 and of the International Association of Agricultural Economists in 2009. Last, he was appointed to the U.S. National Academies Round Table on Sustainability (2006-2010).


H.E. Mohammed Rahimi
Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Afghanistan

Prior to being named to his current position within the Afghan ministry of agriculture, Minister Rahimi was head of the National Soliditary Program in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development from 2005. He previously held several positions with the international organization CARE for more than a decade. He was CARE-USA's manager of operations in Afghanistan and also CARE-Canada's South Asia regional manager.

Further, Minister Rahimi has played leading roles in other areas as well. He acted as a leader in promoting important conversations during the Policy Action Group discussions. Minister Rahimi holds a degree from Kabul University and completed his post-graduate studies in the Management of Development Programs at Omaha University in 1989.


Jeff Raikes
CEO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Jeff Raikes is the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As CEO, it is Raike’s role to facilitate relationships with business partners in the areas of Global Development, Global Health, and the United States Program. Prior to joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Raikes worked for Microsoft. Raikes first joined Microsoft in 1981 as a project manager and was later promoted to the position of Director of Applications Marketing in 1984.While with Microsoft, Raikes was also a member of Microsoft’s Senior Leadership team, President of the Business Solutions Group, and the Vice President of the Worldwide Sales and Support Group. As the Vice President of the Worldwide Sales and Support Group, it was his responsibility to provide leadership for Microsoft’s sales, marketing, and service initiatives.

In addition, Raikes founded the Raikes Foundation along with his wife, Tricia Raikes. The Raikes Foundation aims to provide young adolescents with greater opportunities and support to help ensure that they will become happy, productive adults. Both are active members of United Way and served as co-chairs on fundraising campaigns from 2006 to 2007. Further, is the Chair of the Board of the Microsoft Alumni Foundation and is on Costco Wholesale Corp.’s Board of Directors.


Dr. Pedro Sanchez
Director of Tropical Agriculture, Earth Institute, Columbia University
2002 World Food Prize Laureate

Director of Tropical Agriculture at Columbia University’s Earth Institute since 2003, Dr. Sanchez is also an international authority and leader in the fight against hunger, having co-led the United Nation’s Millennium Project’s Task Force on Hunger with fellow World Food Prize Laureate M.S. Swaminathan. Additionally, he serves as Director of the Earth Institute’s Millennium Villages Project.

After taking a professorial position at North Carolina State University in 1968, Dr. Sanchez’s impact on international agriculture began almost immediately. Leading a research team in Peru from 1968 to 1971 helped the nation achieve self-sufficiency in rice and produce among the highest rice yields in the world. Sanchez also worked in Brazil with NCSU and Cornell’s Tropical Soils Program beginning in 1972. He participated in supporting the Brazilian government initiative to develop the Cerrado, a tropical area equivalent in size to Western Europe and, at that time, non-productive. He later served as leader of the Tropical Pastures Program at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia. Dr. Sanchez also served as Director General of the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Kenya.


Dr. Carlos Seré                                                                                                                                                                                                          Director-General, International Livestock Research Institute

Dr. Seré, a national of Uruguay, became director general of ILRI in January 2002. Before this, he was director of the regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, and from 1980 to 1990 he was the principal economist of CIAT's Tropical Pastures Program. Dr. Seré has over 20 years of experience in agricultural research, with an emphasis on livestock. His major interests are in livestock systems and research management.

Dr. Seré is particularly interested in issues related to the effective use of research as a development tool. He has consulted widely for national and international research and development agencies, and has led innovative approaches for collaborative inter-institutional endeavors such as shared research platforms and integrated natural-resources management programs. He holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Hohenheim, in Stuttgart, Germany.


Dr. Rajiv Shah                                                                                                                                                                                                   Administrator, US Agency for International Development

Prior to being named the 16th administrator of USAID, which has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for almost 50 years, Dr. Shah was undersecretary for research, education and economics and chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At USDA, he launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a new scientific institute that elevated the status and funding of agricultural research to be more in line with other major scientific groups.

Dr. Shah was the founding director of agricultural development in the global development program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he had previously served as the foundation’s director of strategic opportunities and deputy director of policy and finance for the global health program. Dr. Shah’s health background also includes advising on health care policy advisor for the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, serving on Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's transition committee on health, co-founding Health Systems Analytics, and work as a policy aide in the British Parliament and at the World Health Organization. Dr. Shah earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his Master of Science in health economics at the Wharton School of Business. He has attended the London School of Economics, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and has published articles on health policy and global development.


Thad W. Simons, Jr.                                                                                                                                                                                                President and Chief Executive Officer, Novus International, Inc.

Thad W. Simons, Jr. is President and Chief Executive Officer of Novus International, Inc. He has responsibility for overall company management and strategic planning functions. Novus is a privately held company. Mr. Simons joined Novus as general counsel in July 1991. In September 1993, Mr. Simons was asked to head the human resources function. In November 1995, Mr. Simons became responsible for business development and successfully led a number of new business initiatives. Then, since March 2001, Mr. Simons has led Novus in its growth into a global animal health and nutrition company with sales of nearly US $1 billion.

Mr. Simons is on the Board of Directors for the National Chicken Council, the World Affairs Council St. Louis, the World Agricultural Forum, the Japan America Society of St. Louis and the Boeing Institute of International Business of the St. Louis University School of Business. He is also a member of the Missouri and Georgia Bars, the American Bar Association and Licensing Executives Society. In 2001, he was recognized as the International Businessperson of the Year by the World Trade Center of St. Louis. In 2007, he was presented the International Visionary Award by the Boeing Institute of International Business at St. Louis University.


Dr. M.S. Swaminathan                                                                                                                                                                                             Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation                                                                                                                                               1987 World Food Prize Laureate

Dr. Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan received the first World Food Prize in 1987 for spearheading the introduction of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties to India’s farmers. His vision transformed India from a "begging bowl" to a "breadbasket" almost overnight, bringing the total crop yield of wheat from 12 million tons to 23 million tons in four crop seasons and ending India’s reliance on grain imports. 

Dr. Swaminathan became a scientist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in the 1960s. He served as Director General of this institute from 1972 to 1979 and served as Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture between 1979 and 1980. From 1980 to 1982, he was member in charge of agriculture and rural development in India’s Planning Commission. After this, from 1982 to 1988, he was Director General of the International Rice Research Institute located in the Philippines. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Chairman of the National Commission on Farmers for the Government of India. Dr. Swaminathan has received over 50 honorary doctorate degrees from universities around the world and is a member of over 30 academies worldwide.


Joseph Taets                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Vice President, ADM Grain Group                                                                                                                                                                        Corporate Vice President

As Vice President of the Grain Group, Joe is responsible for ADM’s domestic and export grain businesses, grain merchandising operations, destination marketing business and ocean freight/vessel operations. Joe joined ADM in 1988 and most recently served as managing director, European Oilseeds, in Rolle, Switzerland.

Joe serves on the National Grain and Feed Association Risk Management Committee and is a North American Export Grain Association board member. He also serves in various ADM joint venture capacities within ADM, such as ADM Latin and ADM Grain River System Inc. and as a representative on the Kalama Export Board. He received a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, and Master of Business Administration degree from Drake University.


Deepak Tikku                                                                                                                                                                                                   Chairman, National Dairy Development Board

Mr. Tikku is the Chairman of NDDB Dairy Services, a wholly owned subsidiary company formed by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) of India to implement the National Dairy Plan. Mr Tikku has been associated with the Indian dairy sector since 1970, when he joined NDDB after graduating as a mechanical engineer. From 1979 to 1996, he led the various initiatives to help in the growth of Mother Dairy, Delhi into a company with annual revenue of nearly US $ 1 billion, procuring nearly 1 million tonnes of milk per annum from producer cooperatives located all across India, thereby linking small scale rural producers affiliated to such cooperatives to India’s urban markets. From 1996 to 2010, he assumed responsibility for NDDB’s activities initially as Executive Director and subsequently as its Managing Director, for supporting the growth of India’s dairy cooperative network.

Mr Tikku is also a member of the governing boards of NDDB’s other subsidiaries which were set up to manufacture dairy equipment and animal healthcare products, for supporting the growth of the smallholder milk producers’ cooperative network. Mr Tikku has spoken about the Indian experience in developing its dairy sector on a number of occasions in the annual sessions of the International Dairy Federation.


Dr. Camilla Toulmin                                                                                                                                                                                                   Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

An economist by training, Dr. Toulmin has worked mainly in Africa on agriculture, land, climate, and livelihoods, combining field research, policy analysis, capacity building, and advocacy. Her work has aimed at understanding how environmental, economic, and political changes and reforms impact people’s lives and real change on the ground. Through her career, Dr. Toulmin has engaged with people at many different levels from farmers and researchers, to national governments, NGOs, donor agencies and international bodies.

As director of London-based IIED since 2004, Dr. Toulmin has focused on developing the institute’s strategy, which brings together diverse areas of work on climate change, human settlements, natural resources, sustainable markets, and governance. Dr. Toulmin is a trustee of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria, the Franco-British Council, and the Royal African Society. She is currently a member of the Lead Expert Group of the UK government Foresight exercise on the Future of Global Food and Farming to 2050, due to report in November 2010. She studied economics at Cambridge and London before gaining her doctorate at Oxford.


Mr. Ajay Vashee
President, International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP)
Representing farmers at the world level, Mr. Vashee was elected at the 38th IFAP World Farmers’ in June 2008, becoming the first president from a developing country in IFAP's 62-year history. He also served as the IFAP vice president from 2006-2008, during which time he was leading IFAP's work on environmental issues, speaking widely at international events such as the UN Committee on Sustainable Development.

Mr. Vashee is the founding and current honorary president of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), which represents fourteen national farmers' organizations in Southern Africa. Previously, he served as president of the Zambia National Farmers Union, where he united diverse national farming interests under its umbrella for the first time in the history of the nation. Mr. Vashee is a member of the International Food & Agricultural Trade Council. A dairy and crop farmer in Zambia, he has been involved in organized agriculture for over 22 years.


Hon. Tom Vilsack                                                                                                                                                                                                    Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture

Appointed by President Barack Obama, Secretary Vilsack was sworn in as the 30th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Secretary Vilsack has served in the public sector at nearly every level of government, beginning as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in 1987, and then as state senator in 1992. In 1998, he was elected to the first of two terms as governor of Iowa. 

Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA is working to promote a safe, sustainable, sufficient and nutritious food supply for all Americans and to end child hunger by 2015. Some of Secretary Vilsack’s programs include increasing the USDA’s main food assistance program to benefit families in need with an additional $80 per month, and providing healthy fruits and vegetables to women and their infant children to encourage nutritious eating, combat the obesity epidemic, and prevent health problems down the road. Secretary Vilsack received a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, in 1972 and earned his law degree from Albany Law School in 1975


Dr. Vo-Tong Xuan                                                                                                                                                                                                              Vice President for Academic Affairs, Tan Tao University                                                                                                                                    Director, Vietnam-Africa Agricultural Development Company

As director of the Vietnam-Africa Agricultural Development Company, Dr. Xuan supports applied research and projects on rice production and land-use management, coordinates the Vietnam Farming Systems Research and Development Network, and conducts research and development on rice production in seven African countries. Dr. Xuan is also currently the vice president of Tan Tao University, the first American-style University in Vietnam.He was previously rector of An Giang University and vice rector and director of the Mekong Delta Rice Research and Development Center at Can Tho University.

Dr. Xuan serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Rice Research Institute, International Potato Center, the International Fertilizer Development Center, the Asian Institute of Management, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agrobiotech Applications, and the Environment Economics Program for Southeast Asia. His several awards include the 2008D.L. Umali Award for his work in agricultural development in Southeast Asia and the 2002Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth for increasing rice production. He also a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, considered the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize.


Dr. Derek Yach                                                                                                                                                                                                               Senior Vice President, Global Health Policy, PepsiCo

Derek Yach is Senior Vice President of Global Health Policy at PepsiCo where he leads the internal Global Human Sustainability Task Force and engagement with major international policy, research and scientific groups. Previously he has headed global health at the Rockefeller Foundation, been Professor of Public Health and head of the Division of Global Health at Yale University, and is a former Executive Director of the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Yach has spearheaded several major efforts to improve global health. At the WHO he served as cabinet director under Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland. Dr. Yach helped place tobacco control, nutrition, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease prominently on the agenda of governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Further, he led development of WHO’s first treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and the development of the Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity. Dr. Yach is a South African national and established the Centre for Epidemiological Research at the South African Medical Research Council which focused on quantifying inequalities and the impact of urbanization on health. He has authored or co-authored over 200 articles covering the breadth of global health issues. Dr Yach serves on several advisory boards including those of the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Economic Forum, the PAHEF Foundation, the Oxford Health Alliance and Vitality USA.


Dr. Robert Zeigler                                                                                                                                                                                                        Director General, International Rice Research Institute

Dr. Robert Zeigler is currently the director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Dr. Zeigler earned his Ph.D. in plant pathology from Cornell University in 1982, his Masters in botany (forest ecology) from Oregon State University in 1978, and his B.Sc. in biological sciences from the University of Illinois in 1972. After graduating in 1972, he joined the Peace Corps and spent two years as a science teacher in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. He then returned to the U.S. to complete his studies before joining in 1980 IRRI’s sister center in Colombia, the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) as a visiting research associate working on cassava.

In 1982, Dr. Zeigler went to Burundi to work for three years as a technical adviser for the African nation’s maize program at the Institut des Sciences Agronomique du Burundi. He then returned to CIAT as the institute’s senior staff plant pathologist until 1992, ultimately taking over as the head of its rice program. It was his success at CIAT that led IRRI to offer Dr. Zeigler his first position in the Philippines as the leader of the Institute’s Rainfed Lowland Rice Research Program. After six years at IRRI, Dr. Zeigler left to become professor and head of the Department of Plant Pathology and director of the Plant Biotechnology Center at Kansas State University in the U.S., before briefly working as director of the Generation Challenge Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) based in Mexico.



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