On March 16-17, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences welcomed the Honorable Tony Hall, former Ambassador to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to The Ohio State University to learn about the college’s ongoing programs and commitments to battling hunger and promoting domestic and global food security. The former U.S. Congressman from Ohio and current Executive Director Emeritus of The Alliance to End Hunger – a Washington-based non-profit organization that promotes the issue of chronic hunger and food insecurity to international audiences – has been engaged in food security for more than 35 years as a lawmaker and diplomat.
Ambassador Hall was invited to campus to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Ohio Youth Institute after meeting the youth delegates from Ohio attending the 2014 World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa. The Ohio Youth Institute is an annual, one-day event focused on engaging high school students from around Ohio in a conversation about the human and environmental challenges to achieving regional and global food security. The event is funded by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and The World Food Prize Foundation, and is collaboratively organized by Ohio 4-H, Ohio State Extension, and Office of International Programs in Agriculture. After delivering presentations on a major food security issue facing developing or middle income countries, the 85 high school students who participated in the March 17th event heard from Ambassador Hall as he shared his experiences of advocating on behalf of food insecure communities in East Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, as well as within the U.S.
“We all have a direct stake in this,” stated Ambassador Hall when arguing why Americans should be more concerned about food insecurity, even on the other side of the world. “Not only is food insecurity and hunger an issue of morality, but has serious national security implications for us here at home.”
Dr. Bruce McPheron, Vice President of Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, enjoyed meeting with Ambassador Hall to highlight the leadership role the college has taken on food security, especially in conjunction with Ohio State University’s Discovery Themes, in which Food Production and Security is one of the three themes of priority. This notion was evident from the projects displayed at the 4-H Center for Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) annual conference on March 16th, which Ambassador Hall had the opportunity to attend and interact with faculty and students advancing cutting-edge research in the area of agriculture and environmental sciences.
Throughout the visit on campus, Amb. Hall encouraged Ohio State students and faculty to remain engaged in activities centered on food security and to work to expand their scope.
“These programs and efforts are working,” explained Amb. Hall. “All of it - better seeds, better fertilizers, agricultural development programs – each one of these are working and saving lives, we just need more of it.” He says that he feels strongly in this belief based on the steady decline of people dying each day from hunger around the world - from 42 thousand thrity-five years ago when he began working on the issue of food security, to 25 thousand today.