The Columns

W&L Will Host the 25th Annual World Food Day Teleconference

— by on October 9th, 2008

Washington and Lee University will host the 25th annual World Food Day Teleconference on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 12-3 p.m. in Elrod Commons, Room 345. The teleconference is sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The theme for 2008 focuses on the deadly mix of high world food prices and mounting climate change upheaval that affects millions of poor people in developing countries.

“Choices for a Warm and Hungry Planet,” the three-hour program featuring three distinguished guest panelists, will be broadcast live from Washington, D.C. The teleconference is open to the public.

The presidential election, oil crisis and the recent collapse of Wall Street have dominated U.S. news this year, deflecting public attention from the 862 million undernourished poor. World Food Day provides an occasion to once again highlight the problem of the particular impact of global warming and climate change on the poor and what Americans might do about it. Ray Suarez, a senior correspondent for PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, will lead the panel discussion. The panelists are:

Dr. Nancy Birdsall, founding president of the Center for Global Development and a former official of the World Bank, Carnegie Endowment, Smithsonian and other noted public institutions. Her work is focused on global warming and poverty issues.

Dr. Siwa Msangi, a native of Tanzania, is an award-winning research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., where he leads global modeling work on water issues. His current research focuses on global food supply and demand trends.

Mark Ritchie, a community organizer, is the Secretary of State for Minnesota. He served for 20 years as president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a Minnesota-based public research center working with businesses, churches, farm organizations and other civic groups to foster long-term economic and environmental sustainability.

The first hour of the three-hour live broadcast will be devoted to the panel discussion and a short uplink discussion with the World Food Prize laureates from Iowa-former Senators Bob Dole and George McGovern-for their collaborative efforts to fight hunger. The second hour will feature a documentary film, Global Warming, the Signs and the Science. The third hour will afford viewers the opportunity to send in questions for the panelists.

In addition to the live broadcast, the DISH Network will carry the program on a tape-delay basis. There is no fee for registration and there are no restrictions on videotaping by sites or re-broadcasting by ETV and cable stations.

For more information, please call Burr Datz, 458-4045.