T. T. Chao Symposium on Innovation: Feeding the World

Chao Symposium
Date: October 24, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Rice University's Baker Institute
James A. Baker III Hall
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: Registration Required

The fifth annual T. T. Chao Symposium will bring world-renowned experts to Houston to address one of the great issues facing humanity: food production and food security.

From planting to policy, how can modern society best provide basic nutrition for its citizens? The Green Revolution got us through the hunger crisis of the 20th century, with fertilizer, crop hybridization, and good agricultural practices. What will prevent a hunger crisis in the 21st century, with the current world population of 7 billion people projected to expand to 10 billion by 2050?

Join us for this year’s symposium in Houston—or online, through a live webcast, for a symposium that will explore in depth the technological, societal, policy, and economic ramifications of providing basic nutrition to the world.  

Watching remotely? Visit chemheritage.org/live at 1:20 p.m. (Central Daylight Time) to view the live webcast. 

Coming in person? Register using the links above.

  About the Conference

CHF’s annual T. T. Chao Symposium celebrates and encourages innovation in the Houston region.

All symposium sessions are free, but registration is required. Register online or contact Nancy Vonada, CHF’s manager of events and donor relations, at 215.873.8226 or nvonada@chemheritage.org

  Conference Schedule

Thursday, October 24, 2013

11:30 a.m.

Doors open

12:00 p.m.

Luncheon and Keynote Address

  • Per Pinstrup-Andersen, H. E. Babcock Professor of
    Food, Nutrition, and Public Policy, Cornell


2:10 p.m.

Panel Discussion

  • Andrew Revkin (Moderator), New York Times
  • Per Pinstrup-Andersen, H. E. Babcock Professor of
    Food, Nutrition, and Public Policy, Cornell
  • Roger Beachy, Founding Executive Director and Chief
    Executive Officer, Global Institute for Food Security, University of Saskatchewan
  • Julie Borlaug, Associate Director of External Relations, Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M
  • Gregory Jaffe, Director, Project on Biotechnology, Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Jay Vroom, President and Chief Executive Officer, CropLife America


4:00 p.m.

Closing Keynote

  • Roger Beachy, Founding Executive Director and Chief
    Executive Officer, Global Institute for Food Security, University of Saskatchewan


 Speaker Biographies

Roger Beachy

Roger Beachy is the founding executive director and chief executive officer of the Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan and a professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis. Beachy was appointed by President Barack Obama as the first director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving from October 2009 through May 2011. He also served as chief scientist of the USDA from January to October 2010. Beachy was founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1999 to 2002 and headed the Division of Plant Biology at the Scripps Research Institute as the Scripps Family Chair in Cell Biology from 1998 to 2001. Beachy was a professor in the biology department at Washington University in St. Louis and director of the Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology from 1978 to 1991. In 1986 Beachy and colleagues developed the first genetically modified food crop, a tomato modified for resistance to virus disease. 

Beachy is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology; a foreign associate of the National Academy of Science India, the Indian National Science Academy, and the Third World Academy of Sciences; and a fellow of the Academy of Science of St. Louis. He has received the Bank of Delaware’s Commonwealth Award for Science and Industry (1991), the Ruth Allen award from the American Phytopathological Society (1990), and the Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2001), among other awards.

Beachy holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and earned a B.A. in biology from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.

Julie Borlaug

Julie Borlaug is the granddaughter of Norman E. Borlaug and the associate director of external relations at the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M. Since the death of her grandfather Julie has worked to develop agricultural partnerships among public, private, and philanthropic groups to further the Borlaug legacy and expand on Norman’s mission to feed the world’s hungry.

She joined the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture as external relations manager in 2006 to work alongside her grandfather, where she successfully raised funds for an endowed chair in international agriculture. In 2012 she made the transition into her new role as associate director of external relations. Before joining the Borlaug Institute, Julie worked in the nonprofit sector for such organizations as the Salvation Army and the American Cancer Society as director of development.

Borlaug received her B.A. from Texas A&M in international studies and political science in 1997 and her M.B.A. in nonprofit management from the University of Dallas in 2004.

Gregory Jaffe

Gregory Jaffe is the director of the Project on Biotechnology for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit consumer organization located in the United States. He came to CSPI after a long and distinguished career in government service as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division and as senior counsel with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Air Enforcement Division. He is a recognized international expert on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety and has published numerous articles and reports on those topics. He has worked on biosafety regulatory issues in the United States and throughout the world, including in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Indonesia, and Nigeria. He was a member of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture from 2003 to 2008 and was reappointed for a new term in 2011.  He was also a member of the Food and Drug Administration Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee from 2004 to 2008. 

Jaffe earned his B.A. in biology and government with high honors from Wesleyan University and then received a law degree from Harvard Law School. 

Per Pinstrup-Andersen

On June 1, 2013, Per Pinstrup-Andersen retired from his positions as the H. E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition, and Public Policy; the J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship; and a professor of applied economics at Cornell University. Since then he has been professor emeritus and a graduate school professor at Cornell.  He also continues as an adjunct professor at Copenhagen University.  

He is past chairman of the Science Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and past president of the American Agricultural Economics Association. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Agricultural Economics Association. He served 10 years as the International Food Policy Research Institute’s director general and 7 years as department head; 7 years as an economist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia; and 6 years as a distinguished professor at Wageningen University. He is the 2001 World Food Prize laureate and the recipient of several awards for his research and communication of research results.

Pinstrup-Andersen’s publications include Seeds of Contention, coauthored with Ebbe Schioler and published in five languages, and more than 400 other books, refereed journal articles, papers, and book chapters, including such recent books as Ethics, Hunger and Globalization, coedited with Peter Sandoe; Agricultural Trade Liberalization and the Least Developed Countries, coedited with Niek Koning; Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries, coedited with Fuzhi Cheng; Food Policy for Developing Countries, coauthored with Derrill Watson; and The African Food System and Its Interaction with Human Health and Nutrition.

He holds a B.S. from the Danish Agricultural University, an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, and honorary doctoral degrees from universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and India.

Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin is the senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University’s Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies and writes the award-winning Dot Earth blog for the opinion section of the New York Times. He has spent three decades covering subjects ranging from the assault on the Amazon rainforest to the changing conditions around the Arctic, from the troubled relationship of climate science and politics to the environmental impacts of rising human populations and resource appetites. From 1995 through 2009 he covered the environment for the New York Times as a staff reporter. Revkin has been a pioneer in multimedia communication, blogging and shooting still and video imagery in far-flung places.

At Pace he teaches courses on blogging, environmental-science communication, and documentary video with a focus on sustainable development. His quarter century of coverage of global warming has earned most of the major awards for science journalism, including an unprecedented pair of communication awards from the National Academy of Sciences, two journalism awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Investigative Reports and Editors Award, and the John Chancellor Award for sustained journalistic excellence from Columbia University. He has written acclaimed books on global warming, the changing Arctic, and the fight to save the Amazon rainforest. Revkin has also written three book chapters on communication and the environment and speaks to varied audiences around the world about the power of the Web to foster progress on a finite planet.

Revkin holds a degree in biology from Brown University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Jay Vroom

Jay Vroom has served as president and chief executive officer of the trade association known as CropLife America (CLA) since 1989 and has been a leader in U.S. agribusiness trade associations for his entire career. He has also served as chairman of the CropLife Foundation since its inception in 2001.

In his current role with CLA, Vroom heads the leading U.S. trade group for the crop-protection industry in the United States. CLA is primarily involved in issue management and advocacy for the industry and its agricultural allies. CLA performs federal and state lobbying, science and regulatory advocacy, and proactive litigation work on behalf of its members. Its principal issues revolve around articulating the benefits of crop technology in enhancing food, fiber, and renewable fuel production, and advocating for clear, science-based regulations, which ensure the safe, effective use of crop-protection tools.

Through its membership in the Brussels-based global federation CropLife International (CLI), CLA is a strong voice in many international venues on issues critical to the plant-science industry. Vroom also sits as a senior member of CLI’s Crop Protection Steering Council and on the board of directors for the Friends of the National Arboretum, an independent, nonprofit organization established to enhance the National Arboretum.

Before joining the CropLife staff Vroom held various positions in executive capacities with the National Fertilizer Solutions Association, the Merchants Exchange of St. Louis, and the Fertilizer Institute.

He graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Agriculture. Vroom was raised on a grain and livestock farm in north-central Illinois and still owns the farming operation.

  Event Sponsors

The T. T. Chao Symposium is made possible through the generosity of the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation. The Chao symposium is being presented by the Chemical Heritage Foundation in partnership with Rice University's Baker Institute.

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