2012 Borah Symposium Focuses on Link Between Sustainability and War

Tuesday, February 28 2012


MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho's 2012 Borah Symposium, “Food and War: Cultivating Peace,” will explore the connections between hunger, population, sustainability, war and peace. Evening keynote speakers Raj Patel and Dr. Vandana Shiva exemplify the intersection of these themes within the context of the current global food crisis. The event, scheduled for April 9-11, is free and open to the public.

“This year’s topic is particularly important to focus on because food shortages and rising food prices can lead to political turmoil,” said Melissa Saul, Borah committee co-chair and faculty member. “As the population of the planet increases, food insecurity around the world is affected by the limits of the earth’s land and water resources.”

The Borah Symposium will open on Monday, April 9 with a screening of “Darwin’s Nightmare,” 2004 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary. Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper’s compelling documentary shows the bizarre juxtaposition of food and war – Soviet-era jumbo jets carrying tons of fresh Nile perch to European markets, and returning full of Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in central Africa. Following the showing, Borah Symposium panelists will discuss the film.

On Tuesday, April 10, award-winning writer and food activist Raj Patel will address “Causes of War and Conditions for Peace: Food's Role.” Patel received degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. He has testified about the causes of the global food crisis to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and is an advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. He has published several books including “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System,” and his latest, “The Value of Nothing,” is a New York Times best-seller.

The symposium concludes on Wednesday, April 11 with physicist and internationally renowned activist Dr. Vandana Shiva’s presentation on “Water Wars and the Future of Food.” Shiva left academics to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a participatory, public interest research organization. Later, when she found that global corporations wanted to patent seeds, crops or life forms, she started Navdanya International to protect biodiversity, defend farmers’ rights and promote organic farming.

The Borah Symposium is sponsored by the university’s William Edgar Borah Outlawry of War Foundation, a separately endowed foundation at the University of Idaho established in 1929 to honor and continue the work of Idaho Sen. William Borah on behalf of peace. Supported by the university’s Martin Institute, the Borah Foundation was created to advance research and teaching about the causes of conflict and peaceful resolution. For more than 50 years, the Borah Foundation has sponsored an annual program on the general theme of the causes of war and the conditions necessary for a lasting peace. The topics of these programs are chosen by a University of Idaho faculty-student committee. For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu/class/borah/symposium.
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The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to more than 70 additional research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.