Surging youth populations can fuel tremendous agricultural growth that will impact the global economy, but, if underemployed, they present a risk.

Youth for Growth

Global Food Security Symposium 2018

March 21-22 | Washington, DC

By 2050, Africa’s population will double, with 1 billion projected to be under 18 years old, and many others regions are experiencing similar trends. How can we harness the potential of this promising demographic to secure economic growth and stability? Global leaders, innovators, disruptors, and trailblazers are shaping the future of food and agriculture. Attend this year’s symposium to learn why this transformative moment is a crucial to global food security and stability.  
Register Today


The 2018 symposium will be a two-day event. Prior to the full day of presentations and report release on March 22, the Council will offer solution sessions to engage in dialogue with global partners.

Wednesday, March 21

Solution Sessions

Location: Ronald Reagan Building, Polaris Room
1300 Pennsylvannia Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20004

Speakers will be announced shortly. Please note space at these sessions is limited, we urge you to register at your earliest convenience.


10:30 a.m.

Sustaining Planetary Health in the Face of Rising Food Demand 

2017 will go down in history as a record-breaking year for natural disasters: Puerto Rico experienced the longest blackout from a hurricane, California suffered its deadliest wildfires, and Bangladesh was hit by one of the deadliest monsoon rain and flooding, and Cape Town is expected to run out of water by April.  Last year the world has incurred over $6 billion in damages from weather-related emergencies, each with a direct link to climate change. As the world attempts to recover, we must examine the increasing pressures on our planet and take a closer look at the social, environmental and economic impacts. And with agriculture consuming 70 percent of fresh water and demand for food putting pressures on producers to produce more with less, it sits at the center of this unfolding story. How can we manage supply chains in coming decades to both nourish and preserve the planet from the consequences of shifting diets and resource consumption that threaten our environment, biodiversity and health? The nexus of health, environment and food requires careful coordination for large-scale transformation and sustainable systems.  Join this discussion to learn more about what is being done to address these global challenges and the cross-sector collaborations and innovative solutions underway. 


2:00 p.m.

Stories of Influence

Each of us has a story of a mentor that has changed the course of our lives as young people. As we speak about the coming generation of young people poised to pursue opportunity, what has inspired and unlocked potential in leaders across sectors? As we listen to their stories, what can we learn from how different mediums shape our stories and transmit crucial messages at a scale to achieve impact?

Note: this is an interactive session and attendees are encouraged to share their own personal stories in response to the theme. 

4:00 p.m.

Accelerating Growth and Unlocking the Power of Entrepreneurs in Emerging Economies

Where many might see a challenge or a hurdle, an entrepreneur will see an opportunity. Emerging economies face strong challenges in many sectors, including food and agriculture, but they also hold the most promise for innovation and present tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors to solve problems and garner returns. India’s growth rate was 6.5 percent in the last fiscal year, and they now have the third largest number of incubators and accelerators. Africa is one of the youngest and fastest growing continents, which could make for fertile ground for social entrepreneurship among young innovators if the environment is right. What’s the right blend of investment in financial and human capital, and supportive startup infrastructure like incubators to nourish the next generation of entrepreneurs? What would it take for them to see the opportunity in the food and agriculture space?

7:00 p.m.

Food for Social Good

The effects of global trends like unprecedented population growth and climate change have direct and personal effects on our daily rituals, including our meals. From pea-based burger patties to cassava bread, the food on our plates--and the journey it makes to get there--are undergoing significant changes. How do world-class chefs influence public attitudes and how can they join forces with leaders in the private sector, international agencies, NGOs, and civil society to tackle the food system’s most pressing challenges? How can we preserve tradition and improve livelihoods as tastes and consumer demands evolve? In what way will nutrition, affordability, culture, and sustainability shape what we eat?

Thursday, March 22

Speakers will be announced shortly. Please note the agenda timing and content is subject to change.

7:30 a.m.

Registration Opens

Location: Ronald Reagan Building, Atrium Hall
1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20004


8:30 a.m.


Report Presentation and Reflections – The Young Century: Harnessing Demographic Shifts for Agricultural Development

The world is about to go through an unprecedented demographic shift: the global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion by mid-century, and much of this growth is expected in low-and middle-income countries primarily in Africa and Asia. This presents a tremendous opportunity to reap a demographic dividend and secure youth livelihoods. Youth employment is relevant to global food security and stability and should be renewed as a centerpiece of foreign policy. This overview will review the critical pillars of action that will advance food security through policy and through thoughtful action by the private sector, research community, and civil society.  

Discussion – Designing the Youth Inclusive Transformation Agenda

Youth inclusive policy-making is at the forefront of the G7, G20, and African Union agendas. Governments recognize the potential opportunities and threats that their large youth populations pose in the face of high unemployment. But many also see the potential for this population to transform the agrifood sector, spur broader economic growth, and secure the stability of a growing middle class. Are the voices of young people being heard in the policy development process? What is being done to leverage the unique potential of youth to prepare for future jobs and sustainable futures? What policies, innovations and investments are needed to ensure food and nutrition security?

Discussion – Equipping and Empowering Rural Youth in the Emerging World of Work

Young people constitute a growing share of the world’s labor force, especially in emerging economies. But the nature of work and the skills needed to succeed are shifting as they join the world of work. It’s been proven that if young people are equipped with quality education and necessary training and skills, they are a key asset for social and economic transformation. Yet, there is a lack of quality education or relevant training and necessary skills. What human capital development investments are necessary? And how can we empower and prepare youth for the labor market? Why is girls’ education essential to stimulating job creation and economic growth?

Flash Talk and Fireside Chat

10:30 a.m.


10:45 a.m.

Conversation – Taking the Stage for Social Impact

What do Audrey Hepburn, Angelina Jolie, and David Beckham have in common? They have each used their celebrity to champion change and social good. Join Mumford & Sons founding member, Ben Lovett and Sunnylands President, David Lane to learn how they are taking the stage to engage youth and inspire action for social impact.

Emerging Solution

Discussion – The Critical Path to Sustainability

Increasingly, private sector leaders are developing new tools, collaboration platforms and partnership models to unlock potential in the growing food systems in emerging markets. From large scale multinationals and investors to small and medium enterprise, unusual and at times, unprecedented partnerships are happening to address problems that might be impossible if tackled by one company alone. What are the keys to reducing the risks, catalyzing deals, and creating an overall investment climate that focuses on inclusive growth as well as the bottom line? What critical roles are NGOs and public institutions playing to unlock breakthroughs and how are the attitudes and approach of young people likely to influence the trajectory of sustainable business in the decades to come?

Emerging Solution

12:10 p.m.


1:15 p.m.

Flash Talk and Fireside Chat

Discussion – Connecting the Food System to the Information Economy

Over the past few decades, digital technologies have revolutionized the way we work and live. From mobile money transfers, to platforms that share weather information and market prices, mobile technology is transforming economies. And in rural areas, the mobile phone is having the same profound impact on farmers, from better market access to identifying dangerous pests or capturing basic production data. Yet, digital technology is far from a panacea. There are challenges- unequal or unaffordable access to internet, intermittent connectivity, a mismatch between services and needs, and digital literacy are just a few. How are youth using digital technology as a solution for unemployment and how can it be further leveraged to accelerate agricultural opportunity and transformation? What needs to be done by both the public and private sector to help digital technology to fulfill its promise as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship? How critical will digital technology be to employment in the agrifood sector be and to the future of employment overall?

Flash Talk and Fireside Chat

Discussion – Mega Trends and the Food System

As we head into the second quarter of the twenty-first century, global food security and youth livelihood opportunities are facing a series of unprecedented threats: climate variability, land scarcity, and soil degradation, mass migration, water scarcity and rising rates of non-communicable diseases. How are these megatrends transforming our food systems and economies? Do we understand how they threaten food insecurity and how this also impacts global peace and stability? What policies and investments are needed to alter the course of sustainable development in the face of these colliding challenges?

Emerging Solution

Conversation– Youth Perspectives, Potential and Progress: An Insiders’ Take

How do young people in countries projected to be most impacted by rising youth populations perceive the situation and the discourse about them? What opportunities do they see in agriculture, rural areas and beyond? Hear first-hand insights from rising leaders in the food and agriculture sector as they share perspectives on the current realities from their vantage point.

Emerging Solution

Discussion – Connecting Local to Global: A Catalyst for Improving Livelihoods

At the turn of the century, it was young farmers that drove agricultural production as early adopters of new seeds and farming techniques in corn clubs across the US. In the second half of the century, American agriculture continued that legacy through the creation of institutionalized support for agricultural education models in both 4-H and Future Farmers of America. Despite recognition that engaging youth is critical for the future of agriculture, the age of American farmers and ranchers, on average, continues to rise. How can we ensure that we are building youth-inclusive agricultural communities in the United States? How can we take those best practices, honed for over a century, and help implement and support programs abroad? What vehicles can we use to ensure that the United States continues to disseminate our agricultural knowledge, research and technology to smallholder communities internationally, while also taking lessons from abroad to help reach those young and vulnerable populations at home?

5:00 p.m.

Networking Reception

6:00 p.m.

Networking Reception Adjournment


Kunlé Adeyemi

Founder/Principal, NLÉ
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Joy Basu

Food and Agriculture Lead, The Rise Fund (TPG)
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Douglas Bereuter

Former Member, United States House of Representatives (R-NE)
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Catherine Bertini

Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
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Alesha Black

Director, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
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Reuben E. Brigety II

Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
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Robert Burnet

CEO, Well Told Story
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Rhitu Chatterjee

Reporter/Editor, Science Desk,NPR
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Jessica Francisca Colaço

Director of Growth, Brave Venture Labs
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Ertharin Cousin

Distinguished Lecturer and Visiting Fellow, Stanford University
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Ivo H. Daalder

President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
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Mitchell Davis

Executive Vice President, James Beard Foundation
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Fabrice De Clerck

Science Director, EAT
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Kelsey Ducheneaux

Youth Programs Coordinator, Intertribal Agriculture Council
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Zippy Duvall

President, American Farm Bureau Federation
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Donna Etiebet

Head of Corporate Finance, Babban Gona
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Helena Bottemiller Evich

Reporter, Food and Agriculture, POLITICO
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J. Erik Fyrwald

CEO, Syngenta
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Rikin Gandhi

CEO, Digital Green
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Dan Glickman

Former Secretary, US Department of Agriculture
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Asha Gomez

Chef and Cookbook Author
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Christine Gould

Founder and CEO, Thought for Food
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Tanja Havemann

Director and Founder, Clarmondial
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David Hong

Global Policy Manager, One Acre Fund
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Sarah Hunter

Director of Public Policy at X, The Moonshot Factory
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Niamh King

Vice President, Programs and Strategic Content, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
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Katharine Kreis

Director, Strategic Initiatives and International Development, PATH
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Gawain Kripke

Director of Policy, Oxfam America
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David Lane

President, The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands
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Ben Lovett

Founding Member, Mumford & Sons;
Cofounder, Communion Music
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Trent McKnight

Founder, AgriCorps
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Paul Newnham

Coordinator, SDG2 Advocay Hub
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Elizabeth Nsimadala

Regional President, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation
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Femi Oke

International Journalist and Moderator, NABJ
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Marc Oshima

Cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer, Aerofarms
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Maharaj K. Pandita

Regional Director, Technical Operations, Abbott Nutrition
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Erik Pederson

Director, Government Relations, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
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Bobby Pittman

Managing Partner, Kupanda Capital
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Beverley Postma

CEO, HarvestPlus
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Elizabeth Riordan

Divisional Vice President, Global Dairy Operations, Abbott
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Marie Rumsby

Senior Manager, Food Security, Hunger, and Nutrition, Global Citizen
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Josefa Sacko

Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union
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Papa Amadou Sarr

Delegate General, Entrepreneurship, Office of the President, Republic of Senegal
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Parmesh Shah

Global Lead, Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Jobs, The World Bank
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Chetna Sinha

Founder and Chairperson, Mann Deshi Foundation
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Gayle E. Smith

President and CEO, ONE Campaign
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Jocelyn A. Songco

Principal, Soros Economic Development Fund, Open Society Foundations
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Roger Thurow

Senior Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
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Ginya Truitt Nakata

Director, Lands, Latin America, The Nature Conservancy
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Paul Weisenfeld

Executive Vice President, International Development, RTI International
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Tunde Wey

Cook and Writer
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Paul Winters

Associate Vice President, Strategy and Knowledge Management, IFAD
Learn More ›

Felix Kwame Yeboah

Assistant Professor, International Development, Michigan State University
Learn More ›
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  • Registration Costs

  • Location

Before February 25: $200*
After February 25: $300

*To receive early bird pricing, you must register before February 25 (non-refundable)

Register now

If you experience any difficulty registering online, please call +1 312-726-3860 or email

March 21-22, 2018
Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC, 20004






  • Next Generation Delegates

  • Rapporteurs

  • Social Media Ambassadors

We are pleased to announce the Next Generation Delegation 2018, comprised of 27 exceptional students from universities throughout the United States and across the globe studying agriculture, food, health, and related disciplines. In addition, we are also pleased to announce our outstanding rapporteurs and social media ambassadors.

Oyewale Abioye
University of Ibadan
Oyeyemi Ajayi
Ohio State University
Amie Alexander
University of Arkansas
Scott Allan
University of Bath
Emely Lopez Barrera
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Longwen Chiang
Peking University
Kinnidy Coley
North Carolina A&T State University
Emmanuel Donkor
University College Cork
Cedric Habiyaremye
Washington State University
Abigail Han
Virginia Tech
Ishmael Jaja
University of Fort Hare
Jones Kanjira
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Nausher Khan
Columbia University
Catherine Leafstedt
Iowa State University
Fally Masambuka
Ohio State University
Doreen Mashu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Xavier Morgan
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Sarala S. Morusupalli
Nalsar University for Law
Neeti Nayak
Harvard University
Tatenda Ndambakuwa
Virginia Commonwealth University
Sulav Paudel
Pennsylvania State University
Craig Robinson
Australian National University
Ahmed Saddam
Mississippi State University
Monica Torres Valencia
University of Chicago
Becatien Yao
Kansas State University
Millicent Yeboah-Awudzi
Louisiana State University
Becky Zhong
University of Minnesota

We are pleased to announce the Next Generation Delegation 2017, comprised of 20 exceptional students from universities throughout the United States and across the globe studying agriculture, food, health, and related disciplines. In addition, we are also pleased to announce our outstanding rapporteurs and social media ambassadors.

Oluwafemi Ajayi
Univ. Hohenheim
Olamide Bisi-Amosun
Purdue University
Zoë Campbell
Washington State University
Sam Coggins
University of Sydney
Caitlin Colegrove
Tufts University
Isabelle Foster
Stanford University
Shashank Gaur
University of Illinois
Emma Gibson
Carleton University
Margaret Hegwood
Michaela Hoffelmeyer


U. Nebraska
Heather Kelahan
Columbia University
Vitor Machado
Univ. São Paulo
Donald Mizambwa
Kyoto University
Rasesh Mohan
Sarahi Morales
Texas Tech University
Thomas Poole
University of Illinois
Morgan Shrader
Iowa State University
Joel Tumwebaze
Auburn University
John Woog
Georgetown University

Rapporteurs play an important role by attending pre-symposium working group "Solution Sessions" in Washington, DC, and capturing key themes and outcomes discussed.

Alexandra Dehelean, MA, International Affairs and Development, George Washington University

Annabel Epstein, BA, Communication and Sustainability, George Washington University

Grant Gustafson, BA, International Affairs, George Washington University

Alicia Harley, PhD, Public Policy, Harvard University

Marianne “Vicky” Santoso, PhD, International Nutrition, Cornell Univeristy

Amit Smotrich, MA, Global Human Development, Georgetown University


Social Media Ambassadors play an integral role in supporting the symposium via digital platforms and driving engagement, outreach, and dissemination in the lead-up to the event. Ambassadors will also help to fuel online discussion by live-tweeting throughout the event.

Oluyinka Abejide, PhD, Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, University of Edinburgh

Prince Akomeah, MS, Environmental Science, University of Tsukuba

Bensolomon Baraka, MS, Agriculture and Applied Economics, University of Nairobi

Lungelo Cele, MS, Agricultural Economics, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Innocent Chamisa, BS, Rural Development and Natural Resource Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Benedictor Cheronoh, MA, Economics, University of Nairobi

Ebunoluwa Faniyi, PhD, Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, Obafemi Awolowo University


Husain Kurawadwala, BS, Technical Systems Management, Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Daisy Lanoi, MS, Food Science and Technology, Egerton University

Sassoum Lo, PhD, Plant Genetics and Genomics, University of California - Riverside

Funmilade Odukomaiya, MBA, Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, HAMK University of Applied Sciences

Talitha Pam, MS, Community Sustainability, Michigan State University

Heleene Tambet, MS, International & Economic Development, University of San Francisco

Jessica Way, MA, International Political Economy and Development, Fordham University


Global Food Security Symposium 2017

Stability in the 21st Century

The 2017 symposium showcased the best of business, social, and policy innovation. Top visionaries from every sector gathered to generate the productive dialogue and actions necessary to ensure strides in global food security and agricultural development. At the symposium, the Council released its recommendations in a report on how US efforts to fight food insecurity around the world can provide increased security and economic vitality at home.



Stability in the 21st Century: Global Food Security for Peace and Prosperity


» Explore the interactive
» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2016

Growing Food for Growing Cities

The 2016 symposium brought together key multidisciplinary stakeholders to discuss transformations to the global food system necessary to feed growing cities. Participants explored ideas to facilitate business investments and economic opportunities that can benefit small-scale farmers and urban consumers alike. At the symposium, the Council released a major report recommending specific actions that the US government can take to advance food security in an urban world.



Growing Food for Growing Cities: Transforming Food Systems in an Urbanizing World

» Explore the interactive
» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2015

Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition

The 2015 symposium addressed food systems for improved health. At the symposium, the Council also released a study recommending ways the US can leverage its research institutions, deploy development and trade tools, and engage with business to improve health and nutrition globally.



Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition

» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2014

Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of Weather Volatility and Climate Change

Global leaders convened at the 2014 symposium to chart a course for how the US government—in partnership with business, civil society, and international organizations—can advance global food security in the face of weather volatility and climate change. The Council also released a report urging US government to integrate climate change adaptation into its global food security strategy.



Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate

» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2013

Capitalizing on the Power of Science, Trade, and Business to End Hunger and Poverty: A New Agenda for Food Security

The 2013 symposium convened senior leaders from across sectors to chart a course for how science, trade, and business can be mobilized to advance food and nutrition security. The event featured the release of a new study endorsed by the Global Agricultural Development Advisory Group that defined next steps for the United States on global agricultural development.



Advancing Global Food Security: The Power of Science, Trade, and Business

» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2012

Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 Summit

The 2012 symposium brought together senior global leaders to discuss new G8 efforts on food security and the opportunity and benefits of private sector investment in African agriculture and food sectors. President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, His Excellency Dr. Boni Yayi, His Excellency Meles Zenawi, Bono, and other dignitaries addressed over 700 attendees.



2012 Progress Report on US Leadership in Global Agricultural Development

» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2011

Progress to Date and Strategies for Success 2011

The 2011 symposium evaluated progress on the US government’s global food security strategy and examined how best to overcome potential obstacles to success.


2011 Progress Report on US Leadership in Global Agricultural Development

» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2010

Progress to Date and Strategies for Success 2010

The 2010 symposium sought to build and sustain the gathering momentum for change in US food security and agricultural development policy. The event featured the release of the Feed the Future Guide, the implementation strategy for the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative.


Feed the Future Guide

» Read the report

Global Food Security Symposium 2009

Chicago Council's Global Agriculture Development Report Release

The 2009 symposium saw the release of a Council report that assessed the risks posed by rural poverty and food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. It endorsed a call to action for the United States government to work with governments and other institutions in those regions to increase agricultural productivity, market access, and incomes for smallholder farmers. The report was developed and endorsed by a bipartisan group of national leaders with experience and expertise on food and agriculture, development, foreign policy, and international organizations.


Renewing American Leadership in the Fight Against Global Hunger and Poverty

» Read the report


Climate change is real and the effects are real...Africa has contributed the least to the warming of the planet..but is suffering the most extreme effects of climate change.

—  John Dramani Mahama, Former President, Republic of Ghana

The people who stay at home, those hardest hit by poverty and climate change, are young women...and they reinvest 90% of their money in their community.

— Alaa Murabit, High-Level Commissioner, SDG Global Advocate, United Nations

We need to have a long term point of view about how we eliminate hunger in the world, and we need to have an immediate ability to respond to crises.

— Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Agricultural development and financial product development have gone hand in hand and been inextricably linked to economic development.

— Aubrey Hruby, Cofounder, Africa Expert Network