Athens, Ga. – Sanjaya Rajaram, who spent his career breeding more sustainable and productive wheat varieties, will visit the University of Georgia on Tuesday, Nov. 10, to deliver the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ annual D.W. Brooks Lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the UGA Center for Continuing Education.
Rajaram was awarded the World Food Prize in 2014 in recognition of his work as a wheat breeder, which resulted in a 200-million-ton increase in the global annual wheat harvest and increased food security in 51 countries around the world. He championed the free trade of plant breeding information and technology around the globe, further contributing to the development of stress-resistant varieties of wheat and other grains.
These hardy and productive crops helped double and, in some cases, triple food production in developing nations and saved millions of lives.
“We are excited to welcome a world-renowned scientist and visionary like Dr. Rajaram to present this year’s D.W. Brooks Lecture,” said Josef Broder, the college’s interim dean and the associate dean for academic affairs. “Dr. Rajaram’s work has addressed the challenge that we face every day in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: how to feed the world’s growing population. I am pleased that Dr. Rajaram can share this message with our students and with the entire university community.”
Rajaram’s talk is free and open to the public. Staff, faculty and students from across the university are encouraged to attend.
Rajaram’s lecture, which will focus on the international implications of agricultural research and the work of expanding the world’s food supply, is structured to appeal to students studying horticulture and crop and soil sciences, but also to members of the general public who are interested in international development, social justice, food security, agricultural economics and the alleviation of world hunger through agricultural technology.
More than any other breeder, Rajaram took on the mantle of famed wheat breeder Norman Borlaug. He started working with Borlaug in 1969 at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batan, Mexico, about 200 miles east of Puerto Vallarta. In 1972, he took over the wheat program and made great strides in improving the speed in which new wheat varieties, most of which were adapted for harsh growing environments, could be introduced.
The D.W. Brooks Lecture is held each year in honor of college alumnus and Gold Kist Inc. founder D.W. Brooks. The lecture will be held this year in conjunction with the D.W. Brooks Awards for Excellence, which recognize college faculty and staff who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the college’s mission of research, instruction and extension.
For more information on the D.W. Brooks awards and lecture series, see www.caes.uga.edu/events/dwbrooks.