Panelists and moderators



Markus Arbenz

Markus Arbenz (47), Agronomist with post study diploma on international development. Executive Director of IFOAM, the international umbrella organization of the organic agriculture movements worldwide in Bonn, Germany since August 2009.

Previously, Executive Director of Bio Suisse, federation of the Swiss organic agriculture organizations and owner of the prestigious bud label. Six years of experience in Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan among others as senior manager of the Kyrgyz Swiss Agriculture Program of the Kyrgyz and Swiss Governments in collaboration with the World Bank and IFAD. Previously Director of the Swiss foundation Pro Specie Rara for the safeguard of domestic animal and plant genetic resources.




Ken Ash

Prior to becoming OECD Director of Trade and Agriculture in December 2008, Mr. Ash had served as Deputy Director since 1999.

Mr. Ash played a leading role in the merger of the former Trade and Agriculture directorates in 2006, serving to reinvigorate the key policy contributions of the OECD in the areas of trade, agriculture and fisheries.

Mr. Ash currently leads OECD efforts to develop and communicate evidence-based advice to governments, with the aim at helping them improve the domestic and international performance of their policies in the areas of trade, agriculture and fisheries.

Upon joining the OECD Mr. Ash brought with him 20 years of extensive experience from the Government of Canada where he held several senior positions in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. As Director General, Economic and Policy Analysis, from 1995-1999, he provided strategic policy guidance on key agriculture and trade policy issues and on government-wide policy and organizational reforms.

Mr. Ash, a Canadian national, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA (International Business and Resource Management).

Kwesi Atta-Krah

Kwesi Atta-Krah is Deputy Director General of Bioversity International, a position he has held since June, 2005.

From 2000 to June, 2005, he was the Regional Director for Bioversity (then ‘IPGRI’ – the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute) in sub- Saharan Africa. Prior to joining Bioversity International, he was with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya, as Regional Director for East and Central Africa. He was also Coordinator for ICRAF’s Agroforestry Research Network for East and Central Africa (AFRENA-ECA). Both Bioversity International and ICRAF are part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres. Dr. Atta-Krah has held scientific positions with two other centres of the CGIAR.

He was a postdoctoral Fellow (1983–1985) with the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) – now ILRI. He continued with ILCA from 1985 to 1989, as Forage Agronomist and On-farm Research Coordinator. He later joined International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), from 1989 till 1993, and pioneered the initiation and coordination of AFNETA, an Africawide network on “Alley Farming for Tropical Africa”, covering 22 countries. Earlier in his professional career, Kwesi worked as a Research Officer with the Crops Research Institute of Ghana from 1997 to 1999. He has a Degree in Crop Science, with a specialization in Entomology, from the University of Ghana, Legon, an MSc in Forest Resources Management (1980) and a PhD in Natural Resources Management and Agroforestry (1984) both from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Bernard Bachelier

Born in 1950, Bernard Bachelier is an agronomist engineer with a career dedicated to agriculture in developing countries and to sustainable development.

Mr. Bachelier served as Director General of the Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD) from 1996 to 2002, prior to that, he was responsible for the Center's relations first with Africa and later with the Research Center of Montpellier. From 2002 to 2005, while at the Minister of Research Cabinet, Mr. Bachelier was in charge of research on sustainable development. Since 2006 he has served as Director of the Foundation for Agriculture and Rural Affairs in the World (FARM). FARM is a charitable foundation created by Casino, Crédit Agricole SA, Limagrain-Vilmorin, Suez, l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Air France.

Javier Blas

Javier Blas is the Financial Times’ commodities correspondent since June 2007.

He covers raw materials’ markets, investment and regulation trends in commodities and the geopolitics of natural resources. For the last two years, he has focused strongly on the world’s food crisis and the spike in agricultural commodities prices.

Previously, he reported on international economy for both the Financial Times and the Spanish business daily, Expansion. He has reported on these subjects since 1999.

Javier Blas was born in Spain and received a BA / MA in journalism from the University of Navarra, Spain, where he specialized in business journalism. He also studied political communication at Sheffield University, United Kingdom.

He is fluent in English and Spanish and speaks French. He frequently appears on national and international television and radio.

Karen Brooks

Karen Brooks is the Sector Manager for Africa at the World Bank.


Kevin Maupin Cleaver

Kevin Cleaver joined IFAD in September 2006 as Assistant President of the Programme Management Department, which handles IFAD’s operations world-wide.

Before joining IFAD, he held several key positions in the World Bank, including: Director, Africa Technical Department, Africa Region; Director, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, Europe and Central Asia Region; and, the most recent position, Director, Agriculture and Rural Development for the World Bank Group. He represented the World Bank on the Executive Committee of the CGIAR and participated in mobilizing funds for the World Bank’s environmentally and socially sustainable development network.

While at the World Bank, Kevin Cleaver was recognized as an outstanding manager and was the recipient of the “Good Manager” award from the World Bank Staff Association in 2001. He helped create an effective system of knowledge sharing, knowledge management and staff learning for staff in the World Bank’s Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network.

Kevin Cleaver has a long and distinguished career in agriculture and rural development, with many books and articles published on agricultural development. He spent several years working and living in Sub-Sahara and North Africa. Kevin Cleaver holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, a Masters degree in International Law and Diplomacy and a PhD in Economics from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts. He has also completed an Executive Development Management Programme at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.


Csaba Csaki

Csaba Csaki is a native of Hungary. He received a PhD in agricultural economics in Hungary and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Csaki is Professor of Agricultural Economics at the Budapest Corvinus University, as well as being the former rector of Budapest University of Economic Sciences. Currently, he is also Head of department and member of the Monetary Board of the Hungarian National Bank. He was a Senior Advisor for Strategy and Policy in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of the World Bank, and the principal author of the Bank’s current rural development strategy (“Reaching the Rural Poor''). During the economic transition period of the 1990s, Dr. Csaki led the World Bank’s analytical work on agricultural policies and food and agriculture sectors in Central and Eastern Europe.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was the leading agricultural and rural policy advisor on global level at the World Bank. He is one of the world’s leading experts on agricultural policy, development, and economic transition in Central and Eastern Europe. He received honorary doctoral degrees from a number of universities. He served as President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists from 1991–1994 and honorary life member of the association. He was vice-president of the European Association of Agricultural Economists from 1985-1987. He is a fellow of the European Association of Agricultural Economists. He is member of the International Policy Council for Agriculture and Trade as well as the Board of Trustees of IFPRI. Dr.Csaki published over 300 books and articles.

Elenita Daño

Elenita Daño is a Senior Researcher for theThird World Network, working mainly on sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and biosafety issues.

She is a researcher based in Davao City, Philippines who has extensive experience in development work, especially on issues affecting community-based conservation and development of plant genetic resources in Southeast Asia.

Baba Dioum

Mr Baba Dioum has been the coordinator general of the Conference of Ministers of West and Central Africa since 1991.

Prior to that, he served as director of the Policy Agricultural Unit where he was in charge of writing policies on agriculture and as technical adviser to the Ministry of Rural Development, both in Senegal. He has had a varied career with emphasis on natural resources conservation, water issues, and agricultural policies.

Mr. Dioum has served on several boards, including that of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), and was the founding member of the executive committee for the United Nations Program for the Environment as well as a member of the executive committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Alain de Janvry

Alain de Janvry is an economist working on international economic development, with expertise principally in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.

Fields of work include poverty analysis, rural development, quantitative analysis of development policies, impact analysis of social programs, technological innovations in agriculture, microfinance, and the management of common property resources.

He is a member of the French National Academy of Agriculture and a fellow of the American Agricultural Economic Association. He is a professor of Agriculture and Resource Economics and of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He was co-director of the World Development Report 2008, Agriculture for Development.




Eugenio A. Diaz-Bonilla

Mr. Eugenio A. Diaz-Bonilla, an Argentine national, has more than 30 years of professional experience as an economist, working with the public and private sector in different developing countries.

He has been consultant and staff member with several international organizations: the World Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), Organization of American States (OAS), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He advised Ministers and senior public officials in different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean on macroeconomic and trade policies, poverty alleviation and food security programs, and project financing.

Mr. Diaz-Bonilla has held diplomatic positions representing his country and negotiating trade and agricultural issues in bilateral, regional, and multilateral negotiations. He has written extensively on economic development, trade, poverty and food security issues. He holds a degree in Economics from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), a Master in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Johns Hopkins University as well. Currently he is the Executive Director for Argentina and Haiti at the Inter-American Development Bank. Mr. Diaz-Bonilla is married with 3 children.




Ivy Drafor

Ivy Drafor has BSc and MSc from University of Guelph and PhD from University of Ghana, in collaboration with Cornell University. She is a Fellow on CGIAR’s Gender and Diversity AWARD program.

She has a passion for teaching, inspiring young people and working with rural communities. She has about 15 years experience on university faculty teaching courses, including economics of development, micro and macro-economics, project management and research methods. Her research has focused on concepts and initiatives to improve farm and household management within a community development framework. Having come from a farming background and with her training, she is particularly concerned about the welfare of farmers and their livelihood options and opportunities. She recently worked on a project which looked at access to water and sanitation for persons with disabilities and developing a program to carry out a value chain analysis for maize and rice with their implications for food security.




Hosny El Lakany

Dr. M. Hosny El-Lakany is an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Dr El-Lakany holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture and a M.Sc. in Forestry (University of Alexandria, Egypt); a Ph.D. in Forestry (University of British Columbia), and was awarded a DSc honoris causa (Laval University, Canada). He began his professional career as an instructor in horticulture, then in forestry at Alexandria University, Egypt. He studied and practiced Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding in Canada and became a professor of Forestry and subsequently Chairman of the Forestry Department at the University of Alexandria, then served as Director of the Desert Development Centre of the American University in Cairo. Dr. El-Lakany was a member of a task force to incorporate forestry into the CGIAR system (1987-1988), that has led to the establishment of CIFOR. He served on the CGIAR Technical Advisory Committee, TAC (1992-1996). In 1995, Dr. El-Lakany joined FAO as Assistant Directeur de Cabinet and was appointed Assistant Director-General of FAO/ Head of the Forestry Department in 1998 until his retirement. Dr El-Lakany returned to UBC in January, 2006 as Adjunct Professor, teaching and supervising research in International Forestry Policy as well as directing the International Forestry Programme.

He was awarded the IDRC Professional Development Award (1980-1981), and Distinguished World Agroforestry Fellow, ICRAF (2007). He is a member of several scientific and professional bodies including the Canadian Institute of Forestry, the Governing Council of the Commonwealth Forestry Association, the World Bank External Advisory Group on the Forest Strategy, the Board of Trustees of CIFOR, and International Advisory Committee of the Model Forest Network. Dr El-Lakany currently chairs the International Partnership for Forestry Education (IPFE).




Emile Frison

Emile Frison is the Director General of Bioversity International (formerly IPGRI – International Plant Genetic Resources Institute) since 1 August 2003.

Emile Frison has spent most of his career in international agricultural research, including 18 years of work related to plant genetic resources. He obtained an MSc in plant pathology from the Catholic University of Louvain and a PhD from the University of Gembloux in Belgium.

Dr Frison commenced his career in international agricultural research at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria in 1979. He worked in Africa for six years (Nigeria and Mauritania) and subsequently became Development Manager of an agrochemical company in Belgium for three years. He joined Bioversity in 1987 to coordinate research on plant health aspects in plant collections. In 1992, as Regional Director for Europe, he initiated a new phase of the European Cooperative Programme for Crop Genetic Resources Networks. He also launched the European Forest Genetic Resources Programme in collaboration with FAO.As Director of Bioversity's International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP), Dr Frison gave added impetus to research on this neglected crop. In 1997, he launched the Global Programme for Musa Improvement (PROMUSA). In 2002 he launched the Global Consortium on Musa Genomics with 27 members from 14 countries.

As of August 2003 Dr Frison has led the System-wide Genetic Resources Programme (SGRP) of the CGIAR. In January 2004 he took on the role of Secretary for the CGIAR ‘s Genetic Resources Policy Committee (GRPC). He has been a Member of the Executive Council of Ecoagriculture Partners, Washington DC since 2006. In December of the same year he joined the Comité d’Orientation de l’Agence de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris.Dr Frison played a leading role in the creation of the Alliance of the 15 CGIAR Centres. He was Chair of the Alliance Executive in 2007 and 2008 and was actively involved in the CGIAR reform process, first as a member of the Scoping Team in 2007, and then as a member of the Change Steering Team in 2008.

In October 2007 Dr Frison was nominated Extraordinary Professor (part-time) at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He has also been a member of the International Advisory Council of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. As of March 2009 he is a member of the Executive Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
Emile Frison is a Belgian national and has published over 150 scientific articles.




Elisabeth Gauffin

Vice-President, International Federation of Agricultural Producers.




Kwanchai A. Gomez

Dr. Kwanchai A. Gomez is currently holding two concurrent positions; namely, the Executive Director of the Asia Rice Foundation (office in the Philippines) and Secretary General of the Thai Rice Foundation under Royal Patronage (office in Thailand).

Dr. Kwanchai A. Gomez is a Thai, married to a Filipino – Dr. Arturo A. Gomez. She received her bachelor degree in Accounting (1960) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand; an M.E.S. degree (1963) in Experimental Statistics from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. USA; and a Ph.D. degree (1965) in Experimental Statistics and Mathematical Statistics also from N.C. State University. She was awarded a scholarship from the US-AID for her 4-year studies in U.S.A.

After graduation, she taught Statistics at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, for two years before taking up a position of Statistician at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in 1967, and remained at IRRI until 2000. At IRRI, she served in both research and administrative functions --as Chief Statistician, Head of Liaison, Coordination and Planning Unit, and Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

After leaving IRRI (1998), with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, she was instrumental in establishing the Asia Rice Foundation, with headquarters in Los Banos, Philippines, and five member National Rice Foundations in the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, as well as affiliate members in the U.S.A. and Japan.




Michiel A. Keyzer

Prof. Michiel A. Keyzer (1949) is Professor in Mathematical Economics and director of the Centre for World Food Studies of the Vrije Universiteit (Dutch acronym: SOW-VU) in Amsterdam.

He is Extraordinary Professor at the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He and his team have built economic models for many developing countries as well as for China and the European Union, which are used by local governments for policy making with respect to food, agriculture and economic development.

Currently, he is coordinator for the project ‘Chinese Agricultural Transition: Trade, Social and Environmental Impacts’ (CATSEI) that runs from 2007 until 2009 under the Sixth Framework Program of the European Union.




Homi Kharas

Homi Kharas is a Senior Fellow at the Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.

Kharas is also a member of the Working Group for the Commission on Growth and Development, chaired by Michael Spence, a non-resident Fellow of the OECD’s Development Center and a member of the National Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. His research interests are now focused on global trends, Asian growth and development, and international aid for the poorest countries.

Previously, Kharas served as Chief Economist for the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific region where he was engaged in policy dialogue with government officials, policymakers, academics, NGOs and business and finance communities in developing countries. He covered a diverse range of economies, including China, Korea, ASEAN and the small islands of the Pacific. He has also worked on Latin America and East/Central Europe.

Kharas holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and a B.A. in economics from King’s College at Cambridge University.




Herman Kumara

Herman Kumara is the Secretary General of the World Forum of Fisher People.




Imran Matin

Dr. Imran Matin is the Deputy Executive Director of Africa Programmes at BRAC.

He was born in 1970. He completed a BA (Hons.) in Economics from Delhi University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Sussex, UK in 1998. Dr. Matin is also the Director of BRAC's Research and Evaluation Division. Prior to joining BRAC, Dr. Matin worked as a Poverty Specialist at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), World Bank, was Research Fellow at the Poverty Research Unit in Sussex, and Research Consultant at the Springfield Centre for Business in Development in Darham, UK. He also served as the Member Secretary to the 2003 Civil Society Task Force on Poverty Alleviation and Employment Generation. He was a recipient of the ESCOR Research Grant in 1997, and the Over Research Scheme (ORS) Award in 1995. Dr. Matin joined BRAC in 2001 as a Senior Economist of Research & Evaluation Division, later becoming Research Coordinator, Acting Director, Director and then Deputy Executive Director. He is the author of numerous articles on micro finance and development.




Babatunde Omilola

Babatunde Omilola joined the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in April 2008 as the Coordinator of the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), a large inter-Center initiative established to support the implementation of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) of the African Union/New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

Prior to joining IFPRI, Dr. Omilola worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) where he handled the FAO relationship with the African Union Commission (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He previously worked with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as part of a collaborative programme between NEPAD, African Development Bank (AfDB), IWMI, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), FAO and the World Bank. He has also worked with the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London; the Projects Coordinating Unit, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja, Nigeria; and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. He has carried out capacity-building assignments with the Ford Foundation International Leadership Institute for Social Justice on environment, health, education, governance, and the intersection between global poverty and international development. He has a very broad outlook with varying degrees of knowledge in a range of development issues such as poverty, food security, agriculture and rural development.

Babatunde holds both MPhil and DPhil degrees from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom where he studied as a Ford Foundation International Fellow; a Seed Corn Research Scholar of the University of Sussex; a Doctoral Research Fellow of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as well as an International Graduate Research Awardee of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. He also received a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria, where he served as the President of the University’s Students’ Union Government.




Ruth Oniang'o

Ruth Oniang'o is from Kenya, and holds a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition.

She received her University education in both Kenya and the USA, University of Nairobi for her PhD and first and second degrees from Washington State University, Pullman.
She has spent all her professional life working on Africa's food security issues with special concern for maternal and child health. She has participated in many international fora as a participant, consultant and resource person/facilitator, often representing her country or Africa.

She has worked with UNICEF, FAO, Foundations, companies and the CGIAR centers always trying to engage them to do right by nutrition. She has worked with farming communities both men and women, ultimately trying to exchange ideas on how best good nutrition can be achieved at both family and child levels. Recently she is very much involved with trying to see whether famers can improve their productivity through increased use of good inputs, and with bioforftification through HarvestPlus, to enhance the nutrient content of commonly eaten foods.

Ruth has served in the Kenyan Parliament for five years where she advocated for efforts to minimise poverty and hunger. She now works as an independent consultant while managing AJFAND as Founder and Editor in-Chief, and working on her non-governmental organization to try and improve rural livelihoods. She is good at advocacy and lobbying, skills that were enhanced through participation in the Kenyan Parliament. She serves on a number of Boards, both national and international.




Balgis Osman-Elasha

Balgis Osman-Elasha is Senior Researcher, Climate Change Unit, Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources (HCENR).

She has a Ph.D. and (B.Sc.) (Honour) in Forestry Science, & MSc in Environmental Science from the University of Khartoum. Dr Osman-Elasha has extensive experience in Climate Change issues with a focus on human dimension of global environmental changes (GEC) and sustainable development.

She was winner of the UNEP Champions of the Earth to outstanding environmentalists. A member of the IPCC Lead Authors - Nobel Peace Prize winners, 2007. She has conducted and supervised a large number of research and assessments on climatic impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate variability and change. She is Coordinating Lead Author, of the Global Assessment Report, Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change - IUFRO. She has also authored and co-authored a large number of publications, scientific papers, presentations, news articles and technical reports.

Dr Osman-Elasha is a member of a number of professional networka in the area of conservation and sustainable development. She is Vice Chair Advisory Board CC Adaptation in Africa (CCAA), a member of the Science Committee of International Human Dimension Program for Global Environmental Change (IHDP-GEC), a member of the Scientific & Technical Committee - Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) and a member of the Advisory Group of GEC & Food Systems (GECAFS) - Oxford University.




Robert L. Paarlberg

Robert Paarlberg, an independent researcher on international food and agricultural policy, is Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College.

His most recent book, Starved for Science: How Biotechnology is Being Kept Out of Africa, was published in 2008 by Harvard University Press. His new book, Food Politics: What Everybody Needs to Know, will be published in March 2010 by Oxford University Press.

He has served on the board of Winrock International and has been a consultant to the International Food Policy Research Institute, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the World Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is currently a member of the Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies, and an Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.




Estrella Penunia

Ms. Ma. Estrella Penunia, or Esther, as called by colleagues, is Secretary General of the Asian Farmers’ Association or AFA, a regional alliance of national farmers’ organizations or FOs in Asia.

Established in 2002, AFA is currently composed of nine FOs in eight countries, representing around 10 million small scale men and women farmers. AFA carries out programs on policy advocacy, capacity building, management of on-ground initiatives and governance. It conducts activities related to policy information, analyses and campaigns as well as dialogues with decision makers, both at national and regional levels. It provides technical and managerial support to members’ initiatives on farmers’ organizing and empowerment, organizational development and management , access to natural and production resources, sustainable agriculture, equity led marketing and trading. It likewise develops projects along these areas that are implemented in selected countries. As a social development worker, Esther spent all her professional years in the field of rural development, working with the farmers’ sector in various capacities as community organizer, participatory action researcher, trainer, gender advocate, consultant, campaigns coordinator, NGO executive/manager and networker.




Maryam Rahmanian

Maryam Rahmanian is the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Development (CENESTA)




Albert R. Ramdin

His Excellency Ambassador Albert Ramdin was elected as Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States during the 35th Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly on June 7, 2005. Prior to his Election he served as Ambassador at Large and Special Adviser to Government of the Republic of Suriname on Western Hemispheric Affairs.

Ambassador Ramdin has a long and distinguished career in public service at the international, hemispheric, regional and national levels. He served as Senior Adviser to the Minister of Trade and Industry of Suriname where he was intensively involved in the implementation of Suriname’s Structural Adjustment Program, the implementation of the industrial development program and the restructuring of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. In that capacity he also chaired and was a member of several national policy development committees, including the "Establishment of the Investment Fund" and "Privatisation of State Enterprises" committees. In 1995, Ramdin joined the private sector as marketing director of an international company operating in Suriname. Two years later, he returned to public service when he was appointed Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance of Suriname.

In 1997, Albert Ramdin was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the OAS. In 1999, he was also appointed to serve concurrently as Suriname’s non-resident Ambassador to Costa Rica. Ambassador Ramdin chaired the OAS Permanent Council (January-March 1998) and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (1999). He coordinated the CARICOM Ambassadors Caucus from January to July 1998, during his nation’s Chairmanship of CARICOM. Ambassador Ramdin was the CARICOM co-chair of the CARICOM-Central America High Level Technical Committee, which spearheaded preparations for the Fourth Meeting of CARICOM and Central American Foreign Ministers in March 1999. He also represented his country in the preparatory meetings for the Second Summit of the Americas and in negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

In 1999, Ambassador Ramdin joined the CARICOM Secretariat as Assistant Secretary-General for Foreign and Community Relations, where he was responsible for the coordination of the foreign policy of CARICOM and the strengthening of relations among its member states.

In 2001, Ambassador Ramdin was appointed Adviser to the OAS Secretary-General. As the Secretary-General’s principal political adviser on the Caribbean, he continued his close engagement with the situation in Haiti, dealt with small states’ issues, monitored the hemispheric trade agenda and worked assiduously to ensure that the Secretary-General and key OAS units were fully briefed on Caribbean concerns. Ambassador Ramdin was also the Secretary-General’s representative on the Gender Mainstreaming Committee of the OAS.

Albert Ramchand Ramdin was born in Suriname on 27 February 1958. He received his education in Paramaribo, Suriname, at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University (Amsterdam), The Netherlands, where he studied Geography of Developing Countries, with a specialization in social and economic problems of smaller economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ambassador Ramdin is a member of the Board of the Institute of International Relations of the University of Suriname. He is married to Charmaine Baksh, a national of Trinidad and Tobago. They have two children, Kareana Amy (12) and Anu Xsitaaz (9).




Roberto Ridolfi

Dr Ridolfi is Head of Unit Europe Aid F3 "Central management of thematic budget lines under DCI and Facility for rapid response to soaring food prices in developing countries" at the European Commission.

Previously he was Head of Delegation of the European Commission for the Pacific in Suva, responsible of all relations of the European Commission with 14 countries and territories and the Regional programme with the Pacific Forum (regional political entity). He has been with the European Commission since 1994.

While working in the private and public sector in Italy, from 1985 to 1994, he carried out regular academic activity with the University La Sapienza of Rome in research and teaching activities on Territorial Engineering, Regional Policy, Development sciences (14 publications altogether). Between 2001 and 2005 he was Associate Lecturer for the Postgraduate Course for Development Management with the Open University UK “Capacities for Managing Development”. In 2007 he was also Visiting Professor at the University of the South Pacific.

Dr Ridolfi has a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Roma. He carried out his Doctorate in Architecture Technology at the Universities of Rome, Florence, Bologna and Venice. He completed an MBA between 1996 and 1998 with the Open University Business School.




Michael Robinson

Dr. Michael Robinson is Chief Science Advisor for the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Basel, Switzerland.


The SFSA is a charitable foundation working to improve the livelihoods of small-holder farmers in developing countries through advancing sustainable agricultural systems. Previously, he worked as Senior Technology Analyst for the Syngenta Corporate Strategy & Technology group, a role that involved key activities relating to the identification of new business areas and the initiation and management of new technology collaborations. He has over 20 years R&D experience in industrial biosciences covering discovery technologies, plant biotechnology, natural products research, chemical genetics, systems biology and, more recently, biofuels technologies, renewable energy and sustainability and carbon accounting in agriculture. He has been involved in the establishment and project management of several global collaborative research programmes with academic and commercial organizations.




Mark W. Rosegrant

Mark W. Rosegrant is the Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC.

With a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, he has 30 years of experience in research and policy analysis in agriculture and economic development, with an emphasis on water resources and other natural resource and agricultural policy issues as they impact food security, rural livelihoods, and environmental sustainability.

He currently directs research on climate change, water resources, sustainable land management, genetic resources and biotechnology, and agriculture and energy. He is the author or editor of seven books and over 100 refereed papers in agricultural economics, water resources, and food policy analysis. Dr. Rosegrant has won numerous awards and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. 




Luigi Sampaolo

Luigi Sampaolo was born in Rome in 1971 and he is Vice President in charge for Climate Change and Environmental Policy at Eni, one of the leading international oil and gas companies, within the Strategies and Development Department.


He is responsible for environmental and carbon strategies, energy efficiency and strategic development of alternative sources. He coordinates and manages innovative and integrated projects in the renewable energy sector. Previously at Eni he worked at the Economic and Energy Studies Department, dealing with econometric analysis of energy markets, and at the Planning and Control Department, focusing on the long term strategies in the exploration and production sector.

Mr. Sampaolo holds a degree in Economics from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and a Master of Arts in Applied Economics from the University of Turin.




Kitty Smith

Kitty Smith is the Administrator of ERS. In this position she provides leadership and guidance on the research agenda, coordinates with agencies and institutions within and outside USDA, and contributes to USDA's science mission.

As a researcher and research manager, Kitty's principal areas of expertise have been policy analysis, particularly agricultural and resource policy integration, and the relationships among agricultural production and environmental quality. Her work is published in several books and a range of scholarly journals, USDA reports, and numerous popular outlets. Kitty is a Fellow of the American Applied Economics Association. As a research administrator, she was awarded the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives in 2001.

Since January 2009, Kitty has been USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics.




Mahmoud El Solh

Dr Mahmoud El Solh assumed office of the Director General of ICARDA on 8 May 2006.

He has been associated with international agricultural research and development in the dry areas since 1972 when he became a staff member of the Arid Land Agricultural Development (ALAD) Program of the Ford Foundation in the Near East, the predecessor of ICARDA.

Dr El Solh returns to ICARDA after serving for four years as Director of Plant Production and Protection Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for four years. Prior to that he had served ICARDA with distinction for nearly 16 years in various capacities – as Lentil Breeder, Regional Food Legume Breeder in North Africa, Regional Coordinator of the Nile Valley and Red Sea Regional Program, and Assistant Director General for International Cooperation.

Dr El Solh holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of California, Davis, USA, and has an impressive record of scientific publications. He has rich experience in donor relations and fund raising, and an in-depth knowledge of needs and aspirations of the national agricultural research and development systems in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region and beyond. Throughout his career his activities have focused on contributing to food security, alleviating poverty, and developing sustainable agricultural systems; planning, implementation, and evaluation of agricultural research for development; capacity building and human resource development in national agricultural systems; and promoting north-south and south-south cooperation. Dr. El Solh is the author of more than 120 publications/papers and articles including books and chapters of books. His contribution to agricultural research and development has been recognized through several prestigious awards and honors.




M. S. Swaminathan

A plant geneticist by training, Professor Swaminathan's contributions to the agricultural renaissance of India have led to his being widely referred to as the scientific leader of the green revolution movement.

His advocacy of sustainable agriculture leading to an ever-green revolution makes him an acknowledged world leader in the field of sustainable food security. Professor Swaminathan was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1971, the Albert Einstein World Science Award in 1986, the first World Food Prize in 1987, and Volvo and Tyler Prize for Environment, the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in 2000 and the Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal, the Mahatma Gandhi Prize of UNESCO in 2000 and the Lal Bahadur Sastri National Award (2007).

He was Chairman of the UN Science Advisory Committee set up in 1980. He has also served as Independent Chairman of the FAO Council (1981-85) and President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (1984-90). He was President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (India) from 1989-96. He also served as President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (2002-07), President of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1991-96 and 2005-07) and Chairman, National Commission on Farmers (2004-06).

Professor Swaminathan is a Fellow of many of the leading scientific academies of India and the world, including the Royal Society of London and the U S National Academy of Sciences. He has received 56 honorary doctorate degrees from universities around the world. He currently holds the UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai (Madras), India. 




Gérard Viatte

Gérard Viatte, Swiss citizen, studied both law and economics, specialising in international economic law.

He started his professional activity at the Ministry of Economics of Switzerland dealing mainly with international trade negotiations

Then he joined OECD Directorate of Agriculture became the Director for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries in 1987. He occupied this position until his retirement at the end of 2001. In this capacity, he supervised all the activities of the Directorate, in particular on agricultural policies, trade and markets, environment, fisheries, relations with non OECD countries, etc.

From 1972 to 1987, he was also a part-time lecturer at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Since his retirement in 2002, he works regularly as a Special Advisor to FAO and as a consultant to the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture.. He also fulfils specific tasks for other international organisations (OECD, EU), countries (eg. Morocco) or NGOs (eg. Euromontana). He chaired or addressed a number of international agricultural meetings.






El camino hacia la Cumbre

Tres acontecimientos importantes prepararon el terreno para la Cumbre:

El Foro de Expertos de Alto Nivel sobre cómo alimentar al Mundo en 2050 examinó opciones de políticas cuya adopción los gobiernos deberían examinar a fin de asegurar que se pueda alimentar a la población mundial cuando esta se acerque a su pico de casi 9 200 millones a mediados de este siglo.

El Comité de Seguridad Alimentaria Mundial ponderó las reformas que le permitirán desempeñar una función mucho más eficaz en la gobernanza mundial de la seguridad alimentaria.

El lema del Día Mundial de la Alimentación de este año es Conseguir la seguridad alimentaria en época de crisis.