STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum is participating in a two-day summit of U.S. and international agriculture officials in New York City.
The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition 2016 Summit will include remarks, sessions and presentations on Thursday and Friday, focusing on the importance of data access in providing global food security.
Keenum, who has led MSU in multiple initiatives to address world hunger, will speak during two separate sessions on Friday. He will focus on the expertise of universities in every step of food production and the increasingly important role of open data to global food security. Friday afternoon, Keenum will give remarks alongside U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack and Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett, among others.
The GODAN summit’s goal is to encourage global leaders to open agriculture and nutrition datasets, fostering collaboration and knowledge dissemination with the goal of ending world hunger.
Since becoming MSU president in 2009, Keenum has worked alongside university personnel to formalize and expand partnerships with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as its World Food Programme.
Earlier this year, Keenum was named to the Feed the Future Evaluation Oversight Committee to help oversee the global performance evaluation of the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
Keenum serves as chairman of the Presidents United to Solve Hunger steering committee, leading the consortium to the landmark launch of PUSH in December 2014 at the U.N. PUSH is an organization of more than 80 universities worldwide that work together to address global hunger and food security issues.
As undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2006-08, Keenum was responsible for international food aid programs administered by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Services and worked closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.N. organizations. He holds three degrees in agricultural economics from MSU and served as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran from 1996-2006.