CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University presidents and student leaders from throughout the U.S. will gather on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus this week to share ideas and best practices for universities to fight world hunger.
Held at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign on March 15-17, the conferences are the annual meetings of the organizations Presidents United to Solve Hunger Leaders Forum and Universities Fighting World Hunger, both of which are coordinated by Auburn University. The Urbana campus is co-hosting the overlapping conferences along with the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Illinois at Springfield and the University of Illinois System.
Chancellor Robert J. Jones
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
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“Of all the challenges facing our society today, hunger may be one that is most universally seen and experienced,” Chancellor Robert J. Jones said. “Whether looking at the issue on a global scale or addressing it in our own communities, this is a problem that is within our power to solve. And as universities, we have an unmatched capacity to convene resources, create knowledge and influence policies that, with no exaggeration, feed the world. We’re proud and excited at Illinois to host this assembly of leaders united with that purpose.”
Notable speakers include Ertharin Cousin, the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme from 2012-17 and currently a distinguished fellow with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Roger Thurow, a senior fellow on global food and agriculture with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Kenneth Quinn, the president of the World Food Prize Foundation and a former career U.S. Foreign Service Officer; Brady Deaton, the former chancellor of the University of Missouri; and Rubin Canedo, a research and mobilization coordinator at the University of California, Berkeley.
While most of the two conferences’ events are open to registrants only, interested community activists are invited to take part in a session on Thursday, March 15 from 4-6 p.m. that highlights University of Illinois initiatives to fight world hunger at the three campuses, followed by roundtable discussions on addressing hunger at the local and international levels. No registration is required and there is no cost to attend.
About 60 or 70 PUSH attendees are anticipated, along with 150-200 UFWH participants. Student attendees of the UFWH event will participate in a service project to package 22,000 meals to be distributed to food-insecure individuals.