Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer, Gro Intelligence @SoSewit
Sewit Ahderom is cofounder and chief operating officer at Gro Intelligence. Prior to her work at Gro Intelligence, she was a vice president at Helios Investment Partners, an Africa-focused private investment fund with more than $4 billion in capital under management. Ahderom joined Helios after working with IPS, an investment arm of the Aga Khan Development Network focused on food and agro processing as well as infrastructure development. Prior to that, she was a vice president at Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division in New York where she worked in the leveraged finance and global portfolio management teams. Ahderom holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.
Nutrition and Food Systems Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations @femibriggs
Oluwafemi Ajayi is a nutrition and food systems specialist with special focus on nutrition-sensitive integrated agriculture-aquaculture food systems at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In his role, he assists in the design, monitoring and supporting activities on the contribution of integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems to transform food systems for better food security and nutrition outcomes. Prior to joining FAO, he worked with the WorldFish Center on the nutritional role of small indigenous fish species on the dietary diversity of communities around Lake Bangweulu, Zambia. Oluwafemi holds a BA from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta and a MSc in Food Technology from the University of Ibadan, both in Nigeria.
Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit. Along with her NPR science desk colleagues, Aubrey is the winner of a 2019 Gracie Award. She is the recipient of a 2018 James Beard broadcast award for her coverage of 'Food As Medicine.' Aubrey is also a 2016 winner of a James Beard Award in the category of "Best TV Segment" for a PBS/NPR collaboration. The series of stories included an investigation of the link between pesticides and the decline of bees and other pollinators, and a two-part series on food waste. Before coming to NPR, Aubrey was a reporter for the PBS NewsHour and a producer for C-SPAN's Presidential election coverage. Aubrey received her BA from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and an MA from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Eliza Barclay is an editor at Vox.com, where she oversees their award-winning health, science, energy, and environment coverage. Barclay was a former reporter and editor at NPR, and most recently edited the food blog, The Salt. As an editor of The Salt, she received a James Beard Award, a Gracie Award, and an Association of Food Journalists Award. Barclay has been a fellow with the International Reporting Project, the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, and the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Former Member, United States House of Representatives (R-NE)
Doug Bereuter is a distinguished fellow of global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. For four years, he cochaired the Council's Global Food and Agriculture Program. Bereuter is the president emeritus of the Asia Foundation, a nongovernmental development organization, which he led for more than six years following his service as a member of the US House of Representatives for 26 years. During his congressional career, he was a leading member of the House International Relations Committee, where he served as vice chairman for six years, chaired the Asia-Pacific Subcommittee and later the Europe Subcommittee, had long tenures on its subcommittees on Economic Policy & Trade and Human Rights, and was president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He also served on the House Financial Services Committee for 23 years and on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, retiring as its vice chairman. Mr. Bereuter graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Nebraska and has two Masters degrees from Harvard University in both city planning and public administration.
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs @Ertharin1
Ertharin Cousin is a distinguished fellow of global agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She previously served as executive director of the World Food Programme from 2012 until 2017. In this role, Cousin led the world’s largest humanitarian organization with 14,000 staff serving 80 million vulnerable people across 75 countries. Cousin possesses more than 30 years of national and international nonprofit, government, and corporate leadership experience. She maintains relationships with global government, business, and community leaders. She has published numerous articles regarding agriculture, food security, and nutrition. In 2009, Cousin was nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate as the US ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. In this role Cousin served as the US representative for all food, agriculture, and nutrition related issues. Cousin regularly represented US interest in global leader discussions, including prime ministers, foreign and agriculture ministers, academics and business executives, regarding humanitarian and development activities. She has been listed numerous times on the Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” list, as the Fortune “Most Powerful Woman in Food and Drink,” on TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” list, and as one of the “500 Most Powerful People on the Planet” by Foreign Policy magazine.
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs @C_A_Bertini
Catherine Bertini is a distinguished fellow of global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and a former Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. She also chairs the Council’s Girls in Rural Economies projects. For five years, she cochaired the Council’s Global Food and Agriculture program, and she cochaired the Council’s work on domestic agriculture during two Farm Bill seasons. Previously, she was executive director of the United Nations World Food Program (1992 to 2002), the world’s largest international humanitarian agency. She was awarded the World Food Prize (WFP) in 2003 for her groundbreaking work with WFP. She served as UN Under Secretary General for Management and as the UN Security Coordinator (2003 to 2005). She taught graduate students at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the Ford School at the University of Michigan, and was a fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. Bertini served in the US government as USDA assistant secretary for food and consumer services, nominated by President George H.W. Bush, as director of the office of family assistance at DHHS, and as an appointee of both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to the board of International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). She was part of the early agriculture team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Louisa is Head of Media & Research for AgFunder and chief editor of the news site AFN. She has covered a range of financial products and markets during her career, from equity capital markets in Asia to structured bonds in Europe, before turning her attention to food and agriculture over six years ago. Burwood-Taylor has been responsible for launching two publications: an institutional investment intelligence service for the Financial Times and the first-ever title focused on agriculture investment, Agri Investor, for PEI Media.
Ranveer Chandra is the Chief Scientist at Microsoft Azure Global. His research has shipped in multiple Microsoft products, including Windows, Visual Studio, XBOX, and Azure. Chandra is leading the FarmBeats, battery research, and TV white space research projects at Microsoft. His work on FarmBeats was featured by Bill Gates on GatesNotes, and he has been invited to present his research on FarmBeats to the Secretary of Agriculture, and on TV White Spaces to the FCC Chairman. Chandra has published over 90 research papers and has over 100 patents that have been granted by the USPTO. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, and has won several awards, including best paper awards, and the MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovators Under 35. Ranveer has an undergraduate degree from IIT Kharagpur, India and a PhD from Cornell University.
Ivo H. Daalder is president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as the US ambassador to NATO from 2009-2013. Prior to his appointment as ambassador to NATO, Daalder was a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, specializing in American foreign policy, European security and transatlantic relations, and national security affairs. Before joining Brookings in 1998, he was an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and director of research at its Center for International and Security Studies. He also served as director for European affairs on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff from 1995 to 1997. Ambassador Daalder was educated at the universities of Kent, Oxford, and Georgetown, and received his PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Rikin Gandhi co-founded and is the current executive director of Digital Green, a global development organization that empowers smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty by harnessing the collective power of digital technology and grassroots-level partnerships. Gandhi began his career at Oracle, where he received patents for linguistic search algorithms that he helped develop. Later he joined Microsoft Research's Technology for Emerging Markets team in India, where he researched ways to amplify the effectiveness of agricultural development globally. Digital Green uses peer-to-peer farming videos to increase the efficiency of agricultural extension services and a shared logistics to market service to boost farmer incomes. Digital Green is now building FarmStack as an open platform to enable the 2 million smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia that it has already worked with to control and share their own data with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DFID, Walmart Foundation, and others. Gandhi has a BS in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and a MS in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from MIT.
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Dan Glickman is a distinguished fellow of global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. For nine years, he cochaired the Council's Global Food and Agriculture Program.Glickman is vice president of The Aspen Institute and executive director of The Aspen Institute Congressional Program, which was established in 1983. Glickman also serves as a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center where he is cochair of its Democracy Project. Prior to joining The Aspen Institute, Glickman served as US Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration. He also represented the 4th Congressional district of Kansas for 18 years in the US House of Representatives, where he was very involved in federal farm policy of the House Agriculture Committee and also served on the House Judiciary Committee as a chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition he is the former chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. and former director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Glickman has served as president of the Wichita, Kansas School Board; was a partner in the law firm of Sargent, Klenda, and Glickman; and worked as a trial attorney at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He received his BA in history from the University of Michigan and his JD from the George Washington University. He is a member of the Kansas and District of Columbia Bars.
Elliott Grant is a recognized innovator in the food and agriculture industry. He is a General Manager at X, Alphabet’s secretive “Moonshot Factory,” where he leads a project focused on revolutionizing sustainable agriculture. He was the founding CEO of HarvestMark, the world leader in fresh food traceability; the CEO of ShopWell, a personalized nutrition technology company; and served as the Vice Chair of the Produce Marketing Association, a global produce trade organization, and chaired its Science & Technology Committee. Grant previously worked at McKinsey & Company. He earned his PhD in engineering from Cambridge University and is the author of 24 US patents covering topics ranging from cryptography and food traceability, to crop phenotyping.
Women, Peace, and Security Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Public Fellow for the American Council of Learned Societies
Katelyn Jones is the Women, Peace, and Security Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Public Fellow for the American Council of Learned Societies. Her research concerns gender politics in international organizations, and is especially focused on gender mainstreaming in policy formation and implementation. To date, her primary research has centered on the United Nations Security Council’s “Women, Peace, and Security” (WPS) agenda, including completion of the first and only analysis of UNSC debates on WPS issues. She earned a PhD and MA in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an AB in government from Georgetown University. Prior to joining the Council, Jones was visiting faculty in international politics at the University of Richmond and Barnard College. She has also worked at the Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, DC, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in St. Louis. Her research has been selected for presentations at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Women, Peace, and Security, as well as Women In International Security’s Next Generation Symposium on the future of WPS.
President, Mississippi State University
Mark Everett Keenum became Mississippi State University’s 19th president in 2009. His passion for international engagement and transformative research has positioned Mississippi State as a leader in addressing global food security and poverty. In 2018, Keenum was appointed chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. In 2014, he was appointed to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and elected to chair the FFAR board in 2017. Keenum began his career at as a faculty member with the Extension Service and Department of Agricultural Economics at MSU. He went on to serve as chief of staff to US Senator Thad Cochran, and was appointed Under Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture by President George W. Bush. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in agricultural economics from MSU.
Ruramiso Mashumba is the CEO and founder of Mnandi Africa, an organization that helps rural woman combat poverty and malnutrition by empowering women with the skills and knowledge in agriculture, nutrition, and markets and technology. Prior to its founding, Mashumba inherited a farm from her parents with no equipment, but today, the farm is mechanized. She has been nominated for several agriculture awards and in 2019, she was selected for the Cornell Alliance for Science Fellowship and received the JCI Top 10 Young Person Award. Mashumba holds a BA in Agriculture Business Management from the University of West England.
Head of Impact Strategy, Impossible Foods
Rebekah Moses leads impact strategy at Impossible Foods, a company addressing climate change and sustainable food futures through plant-based meat. Her work focuses on how product innovation and consumer behavior can maximize environmental outcomes and business growth. Moses works with Impossible Foods teams to integrate environmental and social mission into core strategy. She has worked at the intersection of ecology, agriculture, and international development in the Middle East and domestically. Moses’ research contributions can be found in journals like the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Journal of Applied Ecology, as well as via the USAID Water and Livelihoods Initiative online.
Femi Oke is an award winning international journalist, broadcaster, professional moderator and co-founder of the diverse moderators bureau "Moderate The Panel." Oke has traveled the world hosting high-profile events and leading global conversations. She can be found facilitating regularly for the likes of the United Nations, the World Bank and European Commission. Some of her most warmly received appearances include hosting the NBA Africa All-Stars event in New Orleans, being Mistress of Ceremonies for Peter Gabriel at the Witness 25th Anniversary Benefit Gala, and launching the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Danielle Nierenberg is cofounder and president of Food Tank, a nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Food Tank is a global convener, research organization, and non-biased creator of original research impacting the food system. Nierenberg is a world-renowned researcher, speaker, and advocate on all issues relating to our food system and agriculture.
Executive Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
Sally Rockey is the inaugural Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). Prior to this role, Rockey was a leader in Federal research, overseeing the operations of the extramural programs in both agriculture and biomedicine. She spent almost twenty years with the US Department of Agriculture where she held several positions within the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Very early in her career she became the head of the competitive grants program, overseeing the extramural grants portfolio. In her last few years at USDA she was Chief Information Officer. From there she moved to and spent over ten years with the National Institutes of Health. Returning to her roots in agriculture, she has led FFAR through its startup phase and seen it grow into a significant force in the agriculture research community through the development of innovative private/public research partnerships. Rockey received her PhD in Entomology from the Ohio State University and did postgraduate work at University of Wisconsin prior to joining the government. She has devoted her career to improving people’s lives through research and will continue her mission by seeing FFAR become an essential component of the scientific enterprise.
Former President, DuPont Pioneer
Paul Schickler was president of DuPont Pioneer, the advanced seed genetics business of DuPont, from 2007 to 2017. In this role he continued to expand Pioneer’s global business by remaining focused on innovation that improves local productivity and profitability of farmers in more than 90 countries. Schickler joined Pioneer in 1974 and served in a variety of finance, commercial, and administrative leadership roles, including vice president of international operations from 1999 to 2007. Schickler is a graduate of Drake University where he received bachelor of science and master of arts degrees in business administration. He has served on the board of directors of the Cultivation Corridor, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Iowa Business Council, and Grand View University. He also served on the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress committee. He currently serves on the board of directors of Drake University, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the World Food Prize Foundation. A strong contributor to the community, Schickler was chair of the 2018 United Way of Central Iowa Campaign and provides support for the World Food Prize - Global Youth Institute. His company, III Ag, LLC, provides consulting services to international companies and start-up enterprises in agriculture.
Barbara Stinson, President, The World Food Prize Foundation
Barbara Stinson assumed leadership of the World Food Prize Foundation in January 2020, having previously served as a cofounder and Senior Partner of the Meridian Institute. Stinson has more than 30 years of experience in environmental public policy and business management. She has led programs focused on innovative approaches to agricultural development, alternative energy development, ecosystem restoration, air quality management, natural resource management, and low-level radioactive waste disposal. She received her MA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BA in environmental conservation from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Senior Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Roger Thurow joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow on global food and agriculture in January 2010 after three decades at The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, and his most recent book, The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—and the World, was published in May 2016. Thurow is an expert on agricultural development and speaks often on high-visibility platforms related to nutrition, hunger, and agriculture in the United States, Europe, and Africa. In 2013, he spoke about the power smallholder farmers in Africa at TedxChange Seattle event, hosted by Melinda Gates. Thurow graduated from the University of Iowa.
Executive Director, Cofounder, and Group CEO, Olam
Sunny Verghese is Group CEO of Olam, and holds charge as CEO of Olam Global Agri and Olam International. Olam operates in more than 60 countries, delivering various agricultural raw materials and food ingredients. Since 2018, Verghese has been Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the global, CEO-led organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to a sustainable world. He previously chaired CitySpring Infrastructure Management Pte Ltd, a listed Business Trust in Singapore and was also a Commissioner of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC). He has won several awards including ‘Outstanding Chief Executive’ at the Singapore Business Awards in 2007, ‘Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ for Singapore in 2008 and ‘Best CEO of the Year 2011’ at the Singapore Corporate Awards. He was also awarded the Public Service Medal by the Government of the Republic of Singapore in 2010.