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UAlbany President Robert J. Jones Joins Universities Worldwide in Historic Effort to Fight Global Hunger

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 5, 2014) – University at Albany President Robert J. Jones will join leaders from nearly 50 universities worldwide at the United Nations in New York City on Tuesday, Dec. 9, when he signs the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutritional Security. 

This document outlines activities university presidents can pursue to prioritize food and nutrition on their campuses, including research, teaching, outreach, and student engagement.

In February 2014, The Hunger Solutions Institute of Auburn University, in collaboration with the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, held a high-level interactive forum to discuss the role universities can play to end hunger. The gathering drew 70 leaders from 30 universities in the U.S., Canada, and Central America.

University at Albany President Robert J. Jones

University at Albany President Robert J. Jones is leading efforts to strengthen UAlbany's community partnerships. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

The Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) campaign, another outcome of the February pre-summit hosted by Auburn University of Auburn, Alabama, is providing university presidents and students the resources they need to help commit their universities to a food-and-nutrition secure world. PUSH member institutions include land-grant, liberal arts, faith-based, historically black, and Hispanic-serving colleges and universities from five continents. The Dec. 9 Hunger Forum and Public Signing Ceremony marks the first time universities around the world will share a collective focus on ending food insecurity, according to PUSH. It is also the first time students and university leaders will be united in the effort with international organizations, NGOs, and student groups joining Auburn in this initiative.

President Jones is nationally recognized for his work to advance university-community engagement. He is leading efforts to strengthen UAlbany’s community partnerships. As an internationally recognized authority on plant physiology whose research focused on the role of cytokinins in stabilizing grain yields of maize against environmental stresses and global climate change, he brings a scientific background to the issue of world hunger.

The February pre-summit grew out of Affiliates of Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH), a worldwide coalition of more than 300 colleges and universities that have met annually since 2006 to share ideas and best practices related to local and global hunger.

“Most universities are already contributing to food security across their programmatic agendas,” said Hunger Solutions Executive Director Dean June Henton, founder of UFWH and HIS. “But PUSH will accelerate individual university achievements in two distinct ways. First, additional strength will come through the power of collective action and commitment to share best practices. Second, it will give universities a strong and unified voice at the multi-sector table as the world defines sustainable food security initiatives going forward.”

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