Past Event

The Food Security Challenge

December 3, 2020
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
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8:30 - 10:00 AM New York
Register here

270 million people globally are suffering acute hunger this year, twice last year’s count. Food security is a major global challenge, a priority for all countries, whether developing or developed. It is expected that by 2050, the demand for food will be 60% greater than it is today; and farmers will need to feed a projected population of 9.1 billion. Meeting this demand, presents a major challenge for governments and puts enormous pressure on the agriculture sector.  

This webinar, part of the Global Columbia Collaboratory, will look at the state of food security in the world.

  • What are the most pressing issues to address to achieve food security for all?
  • What are the priorities for governments, private sector, and researchers? 
  • How can we build back better from the pandemic?
  • How can we prepare for the impact of climate change? 


Ruth DeFries

Moderated by
Ruth DeFries, Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development, Columbia University



Anne Paxton

Anne Paxton, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Population, Columbia University




Michael Puma

Michael Puma, Director and Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Earth Institute




Arif Husain

Arif Husain, Chief Economist and Director, Food Security Analysis and Trends Service, United Nations World Food Programme



Hosted by

Safwan Masri

Safwan Masri, Professor and EVP for Global Centers and Global Development, Columbia University




Shannon Marquez

Shannon Marquez, Dean of Undergraduate Global Engagement, Columbia University




Columbia Global Collaboratory

This will be the fifth global webinar for a new program for our undergraduate students. The program, the Columbia Global Collaboratory, launched last summer with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. It is designed to give students the skills, understanding, and networks to grow into the leaders our world needs–to thoughtfully address our increasingly complex challenges. In addition to global online seminars that allow them to learn from faculty and experts drawn from around the world, students engage in facilitated reflections to consider ways the pandemic has affected communities, and they have the opportunity to generate ideas and design and implement collaborative projects centered on concrete solutions.

While the Collaboratory primarily targets sixty undergraduate students carefully selected through a competitive application process, the online seminars attract a large global audience, reached through the Columbia Global Centers, the University’s alumni network, and various Columbia communications channels, and drawing a large audience from all corners of the world. The events are recorded and subsequently pushed out through various channels. 

Ahead of a webinar, selected readings, typically authored by the seminar’s speakers, are shared with the students. After each webinar, students answer questions about the webinar theme and what it means for the communities in which they live and take part. Students leverage online platforms to share their reflections through a creative digital storytelling or other multimedia project; a literary, artistic, or performance-based contribution; or an analytical take on the theme.