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Agriculture, Health and the Tangled Politics of Development


Event Date:

October 23, 2013 | 6:30 PM EDT TO 8:30 PM EDT
Media file: thurow_100days.jpg

The story of 1,000 days–the vital period from the beginning of a woman's pregnancy to her child's...

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Every day, the unfinished salads, sandwiches, bread, yogurt cups and waste from each plane that touches down in Nairobi are transported to the Dandora Municipal Dumpsite – Nairobi’s only dumping location for waste. Dozens of men fight over the scraps as soon as the truck arrives. Image by Micah Albert. Kenya, 2012.

BMW Foundation
Reinhardtstrasse 58
Berlin, Germany

October 23, 2013
6:30pm to 7:45pm -- Presentation
7:45pm to 8:30pm -- Free Reception

Join journalists Roger Thurow and Sam Loewenberg for a discussion on agriculture, health and the tangled politics of development at the BMW Foundation in Berlin. Peter Sawyer, health projects director at the Pulitzer Center, will moderate.

Thurow is the senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He spent 30 years with The Wall Street Journal, serving 20 years as a foreign correspondent in Europe and Africa. He is the author of "The Last Hunger Season" and "Enough".

Loewenberg is a journalist who covers the intersection of global health, business, and government. His articles and photos have appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Lancet. Most recently, he was a Nieman Foundation-Pulitzer Center Global Health Reporting Fellow at Harvard University.

Loewenberg and Thurow are both grantees of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, an international journalism and education organization based in Washington, DC. The Pulitzer Center is co-sponsoring this event.


Program Description:

The most pressing health and development challenges facing the world today—climate change, preventable disease, malnutrition, and poverty—will never be solved without long-term policy commitments. The politics of development, however, remain stubbornly short-term.

Our politicians are caught up in a cynical cycle of emergency response, seemingly only spending money and political capital when starving children appear on CNN or a natural disaster strikes. By then, it is too late.

Enduring approaches do exist. The Green Revolution of five decades ago conquered famine in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere in Asia and then Latin America. When governments engage in the long-term, real change can happen. Poverty mitigation programs, and new health and basic infrastructure have opened up new opportunities for millions. New global players such as Brazil, China and Korea once had large populations of deeply impoverished and suffering people.

Of course, old challenges remain and new ones continue to surface. Food production must double worldwide by 2050 to keep up with population growth. Deaths from diabetes, chronic lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease are rising rapidly. Malnutrition still stunts the physical and intellectual growth of children in countries where human capital is needed most.


Three women grouped together: an elderly woman smiling, a transwoman with her arms folded, and a woman holding her headscarf with a baby strapped to her back.


Gender Equality

Gender Equality
navy halftone illustration of a halved avocado


Food Security

Food Security
navy halftone illustration of a female doctor with her arms crossed


Health Inequities

Health Inequities
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Health Science

Health Science