The Well Update
May 28, Robert Paarlberg, 7 PM “Biotechnology, Developing Countries, and Poverty”
Robert Paarlberg is a political scientist who teaches at Wellesley as well as Harvard. He has recently been a member of the Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the National Research Council and a consultant to the National Intelligence Council (NIC), USAID, COMESA, IFPRI, the World Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Robert has dedicated his career to assisting people in developing countries with agriculture as a means to feed their people and raise themselves out of poverty. His pro-biotechnology stance is often controversial within the EU and inside the US. However, his moderate approach to biotechnology and development neither leaves behind all of the promise of a Green Revolution nor adopts wholesale an approach that failed in Latin America.
If you are a church member who has been on a out of country mission trip, you may find Robert Paarlberg interesting. If you are dedicated to slow food, organic farming, and local eating, Robert may challenge some of your conception and you may find his approach difficult to accept as a way forward. If you are part of an NGO working on water or food related issues in developing countries, you are most likely aware of his work. This is an opportunity to engage him in dialogue here in Seattle.
Robert Paarlberg presents cogent arguments for biotechnology to be used in developing countries. He also presents compelling questions about economics, social and eco justice issues, and the challenge of feeding displaced and otherwise stressed populations.
Currently, he is working on progress report on U.S. agricultural development assistance policies in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh, for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He is also working on a book that examines national policy responses to obesity and climate change, positing that democratic governments have largely failed in dealing with both because of the roles of personal freedom and material abundance. He argues that both obesity and climate change will continue to worsen until democratic governments are forced to accept the high price of adaptation and prevention.