Campus News

D.W. Brooks speaker: Childhood hunger is not a problem to ignore

D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards Ceremony 2016-h-env
On Nov. 7

One in four children will suffer severe developmental issues due to hunger. Although this number may be overwhelming, nothing will change if people continue to ignore the problem.

That was the message veteran foreign correspondent, hunger advocate and senior fellow at the Chicago Council on World Affairs Roger Thurow shared Nov. 7 with the more than 200 people gathered at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards ceremony.

Thurow has reported on the causes and effects of hunger in the U.S. and developing world since covering the 2003 famine in Ethiopia for The Wall Street Journal. His latest book on the subject, The First 1,000 Days, delves into the importance of proper nutrition in the womb and in the first two years of life, when the blueprint for a child’s cognitive and physical development is being formed.

Worldwide, one in four children are inadequately fed during this crucial developmental period and become nutritionally stunted, meaning that their cognitive and physical development will be limited for life because of an early period of hunger.

“A lost chance at greatness for one is a lost chance at greatness for all,” Thurow told the audience of mainly agricultural scientists, agricultural students and journalism students. “That’s why everything you do here is so important and so vital to this great challenge that we’re facing: ending hunger, ending malnutrition and ending stunting.”

Thurow challenged the audience not to turn away from what can seem like a background condition for the world’s poor. Reshaping agricultural policy, providing agricultural and health education to smallholder farmers and developing new crop varieties with an eye for both nutrition and yield will be key for meeting the United Nation’s goal of ending malnutrition by 2030, he said.

“If anyone needs inspiration for what we do, that should do it,” said CAES Dean and Director Sam Pardue at the end of Thurow’s talk.

In addition to Thurow’s lecture, Pardue recognized the winners of this year’s D.W. Brooks Faculty Awards for Excellence, D.W. Brooks Diversity Awards, Outstanding Academic Adviser Awards and CAES Staff Awards.

“These winners are nominated by their peers and selected by a panel of judges as the most outstanding individuals in their fields,” Pardue said. “They really are the best of the best.”

This year’s award winners included Julia Gaskin (Extension), Wayne Parrott (Global Programs), Bill Tyson (public service Extension), Tim Brenneman (research) and Darold Batzer (teaching) who received the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence.

The D.W. Brooks Diversity Award for a department was given to the agricultural leadership, education and communication department. The faculty recipient of the award was Ron Walcott, professor of plant pathology.

Recipients of the CAES Outstanding Undergraduate Adviser Awards were Brian Fairchild, who was named outstanding faculty adviser, and JoAnne Norris, who was named outstanding staff and professional adviser.

The recipients of CAES Staff Awards were Lindsey Barner (professional/administrative), Carla Barnett (skilled trades) and Peter Layette (technical).

More information about D.W. Brooks awards winners is at