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Politics of hunger to be topic of World Food Day international teleconference


BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 13, 2004 – "Why does the modern world food system fail to adequately feed some 800 million people?" This and other topics will be addressed during the 21st annual international World Food Day Teleconference, entitled "The Politics of Hunger: What's at Stake?"

Virginia Tech will participate in this live, worldwide telecast via an uplink in the Wallace Hall Atrium from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. The general public is welcome to attend.

The three-hour program will feature Werner Kiene, a noted expert on international food policy. An Austrian native and the World Food Program's representative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Kiene contends that the "politics of hunger" could more aptly be called the "politics of neglect." Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for the PBS network's "Jim Lehrer NewsHour," is scheduled to host the program.

Additional comments will be offered by New Mexico Governor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson; Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug; and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman. A documentary film produced by Asterisk Productions, "Food — Reinventing the World," and a short film created by the World Food Program will be aired in the second hour. The third hour will consist of an interactive question and answer period.

Originating from the U.S. Department of Agriculture television studios, the 2004 teleconference will reach 1,000 sites worldwide and will be simultaneously translated in Spanish and French. The annual event is sponsored by the U.S. National Committee for World Food Day, a coalition of some 450 private voluntary organizations.

Millions go hungry in a world that produces enough food to feed every man, woman, and child. All aspects of the systemic food failure will be open for discussion in this teleconference, including the activities of major international and national players. The World Food Day Teleconference also will explore alternative approaches to meeting the hunger crisis.

World Food Day, a project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is now observed in more than 150 nations and marks the founding of the FAO on Oct. 16, 1945.

For more information, please contact Miriam Rich, Virginia Tech's Office of International Research, Education, and Development at (540) 231-6338 or at mrich@vt.edu, or visit the World Food Day website, http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.