Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek
Chairman of the Board of Advisors
Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek is chancellor of the University of Tennessee (Knoxville, United States), a top public research university. Prior to joining the University of Tennessee in 2009, he served previously as the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida (Gainesville, United States). His 34-year career at the University of Florida included positions as dean and assistant dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The author of more than 80 journal articles, Cheek’s research has focused on education and learning. He is a fellow of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture and the American Association for Agricultural Education. He has received several education awards, including Teacher of the Year for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida. Cheek holds a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University (United States). He also received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a master’s degree from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.
Dr. Marco Ferroni
Dr. Marco Ferroni, an expert in international agriculture and sustainability issues, is executive director of the Swiss-based Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. Ferroni was previously deputy manager of the Sustainable Development Department of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. He was also a senior advisor at the World Bank, where he directed work on international public goods and their role in foreign aid and international affairs. Earlier in his career, Ferroni worked for the Swiss government as an economist and sector manager. He holds a doctorate in agricultural economics from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York, United States). He has worked in Latin America, Africa and Asia and is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker on topics that include agriculture, science and technology policy, food security, development finance and trade.
Mark Huisenga currently serves as agriculture programs advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Prior to joining USAID, Huisenga was an independent value chain specialist, advising on the Market Access Program portion of a business plan for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He also served as director of Agriculture and Rural Economy for the Millennium Challenge Corporation and as sector coordinator and associate at ARD, Inc. Huisenga was director of new business development and a market analyst for Cargill Technical Services and program associate at the non-profit Winrock International. He also served as program coordinator for the International Development Management Center and was associate director at the IRIS Center, Department of Economics, University of Maryland (United States). Huisenga volunteered as a Peace Corps extension agent in Nepal for two years. He earned a master’s degree in international development from American University, Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree in earth science and agriculture from Montana State University (Bozeman, United States).
Assétou Kanouté is a research and teaching assistant at the Rural Polytechnic Institute for Training and Applied Research at the University of Mali and coordinator of the program “Promotion of Farmer Experimentation and Innovation in the Sahel” (PROFEIS) in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal. Her extensive career has focused on rural women’s roles in agricultural research for sustainable development. Kanouté plans, coordinates, implements and evaluates rural development programs for the Association for Development of Production and Training Activities (ADAF-Galle), a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Mali that supports women’s grassroots organizations. Kanouté previously served as a visiting researcher at the Africa Rice Center (formerly WARDA). Kanouté is a member of the Sub-Saharan Africa NGO Consortium, the board of directors of the African Agriculture Technology Foundation and the board of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. She is also a resource person with the NGO committee of the World Bank. Kanouté previously served as a member of the NGO Committee of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Agricultural Research. Kanouté holds a master’s degree in ecology from South Dakota State University (United States) and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ecole Normale Supériure in Bamako, Mali.
Luc Maene is the director general of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and president of the European Society of Association Executives (ESAE). He previously served as vice chairman of the IFDC board of directors and was team leader of the United Nations’ Fertilizer Advisory, Development and Information Network for Asia and the Pacific. Earlier in his career, Maene worked in Malaysia and Tunisia, lecturing and conducting research in soil science and soil conservation for the Belgian Administration for Development Cooperation (BADC). Maene is past chairman of the board of directors of the Fertilizer Industry Round Table (FIRT); member of the board of directors of CEDAP, the French organization of association leaders; and member of the board of directors of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Maene holds a doctorate honoris causa in agriculture from the Universiti Putra Malaysia. He also earned a master’s degree in agricultural engineering and soil science from the University of Ghent in Belgium.
M. Peter McPherson
M. Peter McPherson is president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), an association of large public universities. He is the founding co-chair of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa and chairman of the boards of IFDC and Harvest Plus. Before joining APLU, McPherson served as president of Michigan State University (MSU), United States, for more than 11 years. Prior to leading MSU, McPherson held senior executive positions with Bank of America and served as the deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department. He was the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1981 to 1987. He is the former Chairman of Dow Jones & Co. He was also a special assistant to President Gerald Ford and managing partner of the Washington office of a large Ohio law firm.
Honorable Prof. Ruth Oniang’o
Prof. Ruth Oniang’o is the founder and editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND). She is also the founder and leader of the Rural Outreach Programme, a Kenya-based non-governmental organization that supports resource-poor farmer groups engaged in production and agro-processing at the community level. As a member of Kenya’s Parliament (2003-2007), she worked to alleviate poverty and hunger, with special focus on science and technology, agricultural research and productivity, food security, nutrition, bio-safety legislation, fertilizer and other input use, HIV/AIDS and gender issues. Oniang’o served as lecturer and professor of food science and nutrition at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi, Kenya (1990-1996). She holds a doctorate in food science and nutrition from the University of Nairobi. She also received degrees from Washington State University (Pullman, United States). Oniang’o has served on several national and international boards such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agriculture Strategy Advisory Committee, IFDC, the International Rice Research Institute and the International Food Policy Research Institute. She is often Africa’s “voice” on food and nutrition issues at international forums. She is currently a member of the Sasakawa Africa Association Board of Trustees, advisor to the University of Leeds Africa College Initiative and chair of Kenya’s Food Security Programmes and Nutrition Thematic Group.
Dr. Roelof (Rudy) Rabbinge
Dr. Roelof Rabbinge is chairman of the Science Council and Partnerships of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and university professor in Sustainable Development and Food Security at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He is a former member of the Senate of the Netherlands Parliament and chairman of the board of trustees of the Royal Institute of the Tropics. Rabbinge has led various missions and agricultural programs in developing countries and served as editor of several journals. He was a member of the board of trustees of four CGIAR centers and co-chair of the Inter-Academy Panel on Food Security and Agricultural Productivity in Africa. He is also a member of the board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and chairman of the Council for Earth and Life Sciences of the Royal Academy of Sciences. He formerly served as deputy chairman of the IFDC board and chairman of the board of trustees of the International Rice Research Institute. Rabbinge also serves on the boards of various international agribusiness firms. He holds degrees in phytopathology, entomology, theoretical production ecology and philosophy of science from Wageningen Agricultural University.
Dr. Renfang Shen
Dr. Renfang Shen is director general of the Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISSCAS), director of the State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture and executive president of the Soil Science Society of China. Previously, Shen was a JSPS Fellow on the Faculty of Agriculture at Kagawa University, Japan. He also served as an STA Fellow at the Laboratory of Soil Biochemistry at the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences in Tsukubu, Japan. Shen was an assistant/associate professor at the Laboratory of Material Cycling in Pedosphere, ISSCAS, and a Rothamsted International Fellow at Rothamsted Research at Harpenden, United Kingdom. Shen has produced achievements in the study of physiological resistance mechanisms to stresses in plants and efficient nutrient-uptake and utilization in crops. As editor-in-chief, Shen published a book on the behavior of aluminum in soil-plant systems and adaptation mechanisms to aluminum toxicity in plants. He has published more than 60 peer-review papers. He holds a doctorate and master’s degree in soil science from ISSCAS in Nanjing, China, and a bachelor’s degree in soil science and agro-chemistry from Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China).
Dr. A.K. Singh
Dr. A.K. Singh currently serves as deputy director general of the Natural Resource Management Division (NRM) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). He previously served ICAR in various capacities as scientist, senior scientist, principal scientist, project director of the Water Technology Center, and director of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. Dr. Singh was instrumental in the formulation and initiation of the Water Science and Technology degree program at IARI and has been a faculty member of Agricultural Physics and Water Science and Technology since 1977. He has guided several doctoral and graduate students and was awarded the Best Teacher Award by IARI in 2005. Singh has been awarded fellowships by a number of professional societies at international levels throughout his career. Singh has more than 240 publications on various aspects of soil-water-plant-nutrient relationships and the use of modern tools in water management. He holds a doctorate in agricultural physics from IARI and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Hohenheim (Stuttgart, Germany) and International Rice Research Institute (Philippines). He also earned a diploma in On-Farm Water Management from the University of Arizona, Tucson (United States).
Ajay Vashee is president of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), which represents farmers at the world level. Elected at the 38th IFAP World Farmers' Congress in June 2008, he is the first president from a developing country in IFAP's 62-year history. He also served as the IFAP vice president from 2006-2008, during which time he was leading IFAP's work on environmental issues. During his IFAP presidency, Vashee led the Farmers’ Group at the UNFCCC Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in May 2009 and the World Water Forum in Istanbul in March 2009. He also addressed the FAO World Food Summit in November 2009, chaired the session on agriculture at the WTO Public Forum in October 2009 and participated in several private sector events including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Vashee is also the founding president of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), which represents 14 national farmers' organizations in southern Africa. Previously, he served as president of the Zambia National Farmers Union, where he united diverse national farming interests under its umbrella for the first time in the history of the nation. Vashee serves as a board member for many companies with interests in fertilizer manufacturing, electrical utilities, hotels and agro-processing. He is also a member of numerous advisory boards. A dairy and crop farmer in Zambia, he has been involved in organized agriculture for over 23 years.
Dr. Juergen Voegele
Dr. Juergen Voegele is the director of Agriculture and Rural Development at the World Bank, where he chairs the Agriculture and Rural Sector board and oversees global programs for rural poverty alleviation, agriculture and natural resources management. Dr. Voegele joined the World Bank in 1991, after working with the University of Hohenheim, the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), including a three-year field assignment in Western Samoa. His initial assignments in the World Bank’s Washington, D.C., headquarters included working in the agriculture and natural resources divisions in the Europe and Central Asia region and in the East Asia and Pacific region. He later transferred to the World Bank's office in Beijing, China, to lead the agriculture unit. Following his return to Washington in 2004, Dr. Voegele joined the Europe and Central Asia region and was appointed manager of agriculture and rural development for the environment and sustainable development unit. He completed his master’s degree in agronomy and doctorate in agricultural economics at the University of Hohenheim, Germany.
Dr. Prem Warrior
Dr. Prem Warrior is a senior program officer in the Agricultural Development group (Science and Technology team) of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is currently responsible for developing a portfolio of grants in crop management, fertilizer and input technologies including biological nitrogen fixation, integrated pest management and evaluation of crop protection products as well as seed treatment products. He is also evaluating options for private sector engagement for improving crop productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. Previously, Dr. Warrior held an executive leadership role at Valent BioSciences Corporation, United States (an independent subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical Corporation, Japan). There, he managed formulations R&D and directed global programs in agricultural research and technology assessments. He has hands-on experience in the discovery, development and commercialization of crop protection products. Dr. Warrior has filed more than 50 patents and published over 50 scientific papers and book chapters in the fields of plant sciences/public health. He holds a doctorate in plant pathology from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India, and a master’s of business administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (Illinois, United States).