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José Graziano da Silva awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by Hungarian university

Photo: ©FAO/Attila Kisbenedek

25 November 2016, Gödöllő, Hungary – In the course of his visit to Hungary this week, Szent István University of Gödöllő awarded FAO Director-General with an honorary degree.

The Doctor Honoris Causa title was conferred by the university for, in the words of Rector János Tőzsér, Graziano’s “longstanding and excellent work in the field of agricultural and rural development, and for his efforts in fighting global food insecurity.”

The rector also praised Graziano’s efforts to transform FAO into a “down-to-earth,” knowledge-based and decentralized organization.

The Director-General expressed his gratitude for the honour of becoming one of the professors of the Szent István University, “widely recognized for its academic excellence and for carrying out high-quality research.”

In his statement he elaborated on two areas contributing to the support of vulnerable people’s livelihoods and sustainable agriculture:  family farming and sustainable agriculture.

“We need to adopt a vision of sustainable agriculture that provides not only food supplies, but also ecosystem services and climate resilience, especially to the poorest people,” Graziano said.

He highlighted the importance of the joint work in order to “transform the dream of a sustainable and hunger-free world into reality.”

Academia has a fundamental role to play, he said, by offering knowledge and intellectual authority, and by identifying problems and solutions.

“We need academia to . . . help us along the path towards the sustainable development that we all want,” he said.

As one of the largest higher education institutions in Hungary, Szent István University has an agricultural profile, with a strong emphasis on teaching practical skills. It is an important partner of FAO in organizing workshops and conferences, and each year receives a group of FAO-Hungary scholars from developing countries.

Hungarian Deputy State Secretary Katalin Tóth, who was also present at the ceremony, noted that José Graziano da Silva had dedicated most of his professional career to agriculture. She also praised FAO for bring practical knowledge and useful skills to the people in need.

Following the award ceremony, the FAO Director-General met with a group of students whose agricultural post-graduate study was facilitated by the FAO-Hungary scholarship – a successful and popular element of the cooperation between FAO and Hungary.

Hungary has hosted FAO’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia since 2007.