Camden Conference 2014 speakers line-up

Dec 13, 2013
Jonathan Foley

Camden — The 2014 Camden Conference, slated for the weekend of Feb. 21-23, will feature a stellar lineup of high-profile experts addressing The Global Politics of Food and Water.

The speakers, focusing on issues as well as solutions, are guaranteed to stimulate discussion — and perhaps generate controversy — as they present their perspectives on this critical topic.

As previously announced, the moderator for the conference will be Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. Friday evening’s keynote speaker will be Fred Kirschenmann, an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues as well as an organic farmer.

Saturday morning speakers will address the effects of climate change on food and water supplies. Ann Tutweiler, director General of Bioversity International, will focus on the effects of climate change on agricultural biodiversity. Calestous Juma, professor of the Practice of International Development at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, will follow with a case study of African efforts to improve food security in the face of climate-change impacts on farming. Wrapping up the morning, Andrew Guzman, professor at Berkeley Law School, will cover the impacts of climate change on water resources and access to water as well as other effects of existing and potential water scarcity.

Saturday afternoon will feature Andreas Merkl, president of the Ocean Conservancy, who will outline international agreements for managing fisheries practices and examine the consequences for fishery resources as ocean temperatures rise and acidification increases. The afternoon will conclude with a panel of speakers comparing large- and small-scale agriculture as alternatives for future global food security. The pros and cons of the different solutions will be explored by a dynamic group: Kathleen Merrigan, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Dave Gustafson, a Senior Science Fellow at Monsanto; and Jim Harkness, president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

The Sunday morning program will open with an overview of international food security policies provided by Robert Paarlberg, professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. He will focus on important challenges facing international trade and finance institutions and multinational organizations to achieve global food security. The closing speaker will be Gus Schumacher, executive vice president of Policy at the Wholesome Wave Foundation. He will address key issues on domestic agriculture in terms of both policy and technology and their implications for international and longer-term domestic issues and policy. As always, the conference will conclude with a panel of all speakers taking questions from the audience and interacting with one another.

This 27th Camden Conference promises to provide an informative and thought-provoking look at this all-important topic that affects everyone on the planet. For more information, visit the website which has full speaker biographies and the latest conference information. Tickets are now on sale and already on track to duplicate last year’s sellout at the Camden Opera House.

The Conference’s Global Sponsor is R. M. Davis, Inc., and the Education Sponsor is The Unity Foundation. Conference sponsors also include Hannaford Bros. Co., Educational Development Center, Down East magazine, and The Free Press. Additional foundation support is provided by The William and Joan Alfond Foundation; The Cascade Foundation; The Emanuel and Pauline A. Lerner Foundation; the Maine Community Foundation; The Mattina R. Proctor Foundation; and the Elmina Sewall Foundation.

For more information, visit, email, or call 236-1034.

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