The Global Food Security Symposium, a platform for discussing the domestic and international community’s progress on addressing food insecurity, will be held from March 21-22 in Washington, DC. The event is held annually by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
The symposium also provides a program, known as the Next Generation Delegation, for distinguished students to network with other students, engage in symposium discussions, and interact with key stakeholders from the public, private, and NGO sectors. To serve in this year’s Delegation, Fally Masambuka, a current PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL), was selected to join 26 other exceptional students from universities throughout the United States and across the globe studying agriculture, food, health, and related disciplines.
“I feel so honored to be selected to participate in the Next Generation Delegation," says Fally. "This is a great opportunity for me to gain more insight on how to address global food security issues, especially those stemming from climate change."
For Fally, the issue of food security is more than just a profession...it is her passion. She mentions that she has experienced hunger first hand - never, herself, having gone to bed on an empty stomach, but witnessing other people struggle to feed themselves and their families.
Fally is originally from Malawi, and has worked as the chief agricultural communications officer for Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development where she was responsible for coordinating all agricultural communication activities and programs in the country. Her doctoral research in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) focuses on the role of agricultural communication on sustainable agricultural development.
Her research is timely because by 2050, Africa’s population will double, with 1 billion people projected to be under 18 years of age; with many other regions around the globe experiencing similar trends. With bulging youth populations having the potential to fuel tremendous agricultural growth that will impact the global economy, the topic of this year's symposium’s - "Youth for Growth" - is especially relevant.
Fally says that, going forward, what is especially important is the need to create demand driven, affordable and sustainable technologies by promoting dialogue among the farmers, policy makers and scientists using different communication media, as opposed to simply using communication media to disseminate or promote technologies to farmers. She hopes that after the symposium, she will be able to create an initiative aimed at giving farmers a voice so that they are engaged and able to actively express their information needs, as opposed to just serving as passive recipients of agricultural information.