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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

SMPA food summit to host government leaders, celebrity chefs

Frank Sesno, the founder of GW’s Planet Forward, said he hopes the University can help shape debates on food policy because of its D.C. location. Hatchet File Photo.

Leaders in government, academia and the corporate world will meet at GW this week to help answer one question: “How will we feed the planet’s nine billion people in 2050?”

The School of Media and Public Affairs will host a summit called “Feeding the Planet,” bringing in top officials like the head of USAID as well as celebrity chefs Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn to talk about food security and environmental policy.

The conference, a project of GW’s sustainability-focused project Planet Forward, will blend policy with innovative communication to raise awareness of sustainability issues, SMPA director and Planet Forward founder Frank Sesno said.

“I believe the media is at the crossroads of every discussion about sustainability because if we can’t communicate climate change, hunger, water and air pollution to the public, we can’t bring about change,” Sesno said.

The daylong event will feature panel discussions, keynote speakers such as USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, as well as opportunities for students and other attendees to record short video blogs and promote new ideas via social networking platforms.

The event will also include a debate on genetically modified organisms featuring scientists, a New York Times journalist and a top executive from the Monsanto agriculture company, which has been at the heart of the debate over GMOs.

From a row of iPads that will highlight student multimedia work to working with the United Nations Foundation’ social networking platform, Sesno said he hopes the summit will highlight the power of storytelling and help reach new audiences.

“The idea is what can we be doing to move the planet forward and, in our particular case, how can we be telling the stories to move the planet forward,” Sesno said.

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