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McDougall Memorial Lectures

Frank Lidgett McDougall was an Australian economist. He is author of the 1934 document now known as the “McDougall Memorandum,” which was instrumental in galvanizing international opinion on the problem of food distribution as it relates to underfed populations. In 1942, he met United States president, Franklin Roosevelt and outlined his idea of an international agency devoted to solving world problems of food production and distribution. Consequently, Roosevelt convened the first United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture in Hot Springs, Virginia (USA) in 1943. The results of this conference led to the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

McDougall died on 15 February 1958, in Rome Italy, at the age of 74. The McDougall Memorial Lecture was instituted in 1958 by the Twenty-ninth Session of the Council of FAO, acting on a proposal of Director-General B.R. Sen.

In establishing the McDougall Memorial Lecture, the Council of FAO indicated that the lecturer should be a person of world standing; of any nationality; s/he was to have considerable latitude in the choice of subject, but the lecture should have some relation to world problems of food and agriculture and to population and food supply.

A selection of notable presenters of this lecture appears below.  To access the entire list of McDougall Memorial Lectures, visit the FAO Corporate Document Repository.

 

2011. Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate and former Secretary General of the United Nations.
Kofi Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1997-2006. Annan and the United Nations were co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in founding the Global AIDS and Health Fund to support developing countries. During his tenure as Secretary-General, Annan worked with the government of Sudan to accept a transfer of power from the African Union peacekeeping mission to a UN peacekeeping mission. He also worked with several Arab and Muslim countries on women's rights. Annan chairs the Africa Progress Panel, a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Every year, the panel releases a report, the Africa Progress Report, that outlines an issue of immediate importance to the continent and recommends a set of associated policies.

1999. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat. He was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1992-1996. Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN at a time when it dealt with several world crises, including the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan Genocide. From 1997-2002 Boutros-Ghali was Secretary-General of La Francophonie, an organization of French-speaking nations. From 2003-2006, he served as the Chairman of the Board of the South Centre, an intergovernmental research organization of developing countries. From 2003-2012, Boutros-Ghali served as Director of the Egyptian National Council of Human Rights. Since 2007, Boutros-Ghali has supported the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and was one of the initial signatories of the Campaign's appeal. In a message to the Campaign, he stressed the necessity to establish democratic participation of citizens at the global level.

1981. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India.
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Gandhi, who served from 1966-1977 and again from 1980-1984, is the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to have held the office. Gandhi presided over India during a period of considerable political, economic, and military developments. She also presided over a state of emergency from 1975-1977.

1977. Andrew Young, United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
Andrew Young is an American politician, diplomat, activist and pastor from the state of Georgia. He has served as the Mayor of Atlanta, a Congressman of Georgia, and United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He was active in the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and was a supporter and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After leaving politics in 1989, Young founded several organizations with a focus on public policy and international relations, with a special focus on Africa.

1971. Norman E. Borlaug, Nobel Laureate and "Father of the Green Revolution."
Norman Borlaug was an American agronomist. During the mid-20th century, he led the introduction of high-yielding varieties of wheat, combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving food security in those nations. These collective yield increases have been labeled the "Green Revolution." Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.

1961. John D. Rockefeller III, Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation.
John D. Rockefeller was a world-renowned philanthropist and third generation member of the Rockefeller family. The foundation which bears his family name has achieved world recognition for the assistance it has rendered to the less-developed countries of the world, particularly in the field of agriculture.

1959. Arnold Toynbee, Historian.
Arnold Joseph Toynbee was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, examined history from a global perspective, based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline.  From 1918–1950, Toynbee was a leading consultant to the British government on international affairs, especially regarding the Middle East. Toynbee presented the first McDougall Memorial Lecture, entitled "Population and Food Supply."