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Posted June 5, 2012

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Feeding the Planet

President’s Dialogues to Focus on Global Hunger, Climate Change

Guelph - Leading thinkers will tackle two of the most challenging, intertwined issues facing the world today — feeding the planet and climate change — during the 2012 President’s Dialogues at the University of Guelph June 13 and 14.

Both free public forums will mark summer convocation and the 150th anniversary of the Ontario Veterinary College. They will feature leading international activists and political figures, including environmentalist and scientist David Suzuki and animal psychologist Stanley Coren.

“Feeding the Planet: Critical Links between Human and Animal Health” will be held June 13 from 10 a.m. to noon in Rozanski Hall. The session will explore interdisciplinary approaches to improving public health and food security while empowering communities for lasting change.

“Most people now recognize that food is not just about feeding people,” Summerlee said. “While world hunger is a huge issue, it’s only part of the global food challenge. We need new ways of thinking and new approaches to sharing knowledge such as this forum.”

The dialogue will feature Stanley Coren, a psychology professor, neuropsychological researcher and bestselling author of books on the intelligence and history of dogs; George Cohon, founder of McDonald’s restaurants in Canada and Russia, and a philanthropist and humanitarian; Ian Dohoo, a veterinary epidemiologist and founding member of the Atlantic Veterinary College; Motilal Madan, global veterinarian renowned for efforts to better lives and the environment in India; and John McDermott, an advocate for use of livestock to improve lives in developing countries.

The “Climate Change: Debate, Dilemma, Death?” dialogue will be held June 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Rozanski Hall. Both events will be streamed for live viewing on the Internet; participants will take questions from live and web audiences.

“During the last decade, there has been an astonishing increase in public awareness of climate change and its implications for the survival of the planet,” Summerlee said.

Search for “climate change” on the Internet, and you get more than four million hits in 22 seconds, he said. “In the face of such overwhelming information, how do we even begin to understand such a complex and controversial issue? There are no easy answers as we -- as a country and as a world -- debate the issues. This dialogue provides an opportunity for scientists, advocates and inventors to join with the public to discuss the implications for all of us, individually and as a global community.”

The forum will feature David Suzuki, renowned geneticist and science advocate, and former host of CBC TV’s The Nature of Things; Ron Dembo, founder and CEO of Zerofootprint; Barry Smit, a U of G professor and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change; Paul Kovacs, president of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction; and Sherolyn Vettese, president and inventor of Wind Simplicity Inc.

Summerlee began the President’s Dialogue in 2006 to bring leading experts to U of G during convocation ceremonies to discuss important contemporary issues.



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