FAO in North America

In Focus

Universities Fighting World Hunger High Level Forum


“Shaping the Collective Role of Universities as a Partner in Ending Hunger”

February 27- 28, 2014

Co-Hosted by Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute, APLU, and FAO



Challenge:  Despite significant progress in select areas, it is obvious that the Millennium Development Goals – a historic promise by leaders from 191 nations to improve the quality of life for the world’s poorest people – will not be fully met by the target year of 2015. At the same time, population growth, the increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters, and a stressed and interrelated global economy necessitate an urgent change in strategy if we are to avoid global food insecurity emergencies.


The Power of Collective Engagement:   Universities create an environment that nurtures innovation and critical thinking. Over the years, some of the world’s best researchers and thought leaders of the academy have made tremendous contributions to the science of growing, processing, transporting, and accessing food, as well as policy assessment. Yet, until now, even though many individual universities have worked hard in this area, higher education, as a valued player in multi-sector partnerships, has had a very limited role on the frontlines of hunger. By working together, universities can multiply their collective impact, attract students who are seeking a more meaningful college experience, consolidate individual strengths to become competitive for funding opportunities, and increase global relevancy as developing nations seek sustainable pathways to food security.


Building on Student Momentum:  College students are often the harbingers of change, and tens of thousands of students across the world have demonstrated a commitment to address today’s greatest global challenges, especially hunger and food insecurity. Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) is a network of almost 300 universities around the world which has worked for nearly 10 years to educate, activate, and mobilize students in the fight against hunger. The UFWH High Level Forum will take place prior to the 9th Annual UFWH Summit at Auburn University, which launched its War on Hunger in 2004 and founded UFWH in 2006.


Call to Action:  The Forum will convene a coalition of leaders from universities throughout the US, Canada, and Central America to:

  • Establish a collective role for universities to deepen their commitment to and impact on the fight against hunger
  • Help students and faculty at universities in developing countries contribute to hunger solutions and also benefit from them by coming  into this coalition
  • Accelerate the sharing of best practices in teaching, research, and outreach focused on hunger solutions with international organizations and multi-sector partners


Sponsors and Participants:  Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute will host the Forum at Auburn University in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme, as well as prominent leaders from APLU, USDA, USAID, and foundations such as the UN Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and Gates Foundation.  


For more information, contact Paula Hunker at paula.hunker@auburn.edu or call 334/844-3790.