Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

May 06, 2004

Global leaders to gather at U of G for ag biotech conference

Internationally renowned academics from eight countries will gather at the University of Guelph June 13 to 15 for the 16th annual National Agricultural Biotechnology Council (NABC) conference.

Focusing on the theme “Agricultural Biotechnology: Finding Common International Goals,” the diverse group of leaders from social and scientific disciplines will address the intersection of biotechnology with global issues such as reducing the ecological footprint, ensuring safe and healthy food, and improving quality of life.

Early registration for the conference is available until the end of May.

M.S. Swaminathan, acclaimed by Time magazine as one of the 20 most influential Asians of the 20th century for his contributions to the Green Revolution movement in Asia, will open the conference proceedings with Kanayo Nwanze, director general of the West African Rice Development Association.

“We hope delegates across fields and sectors will bring varying ideas to the table about the place of biotechnology in addressing issues of food security, environmental sustainability and improved livelihoods,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research) and chair of the NABC 16 planning committee.

Other conference speakers include William Rees, co-author of Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth; Suzanne Harris, executive director of the International Life Sciences Institute in Washington, D.C.; and Toronto Star science writer Peter Calamai.

U of G is a member of NABC, a consortium of U.S. and Canadian research institutions that provides an open forum for concerned people worldwide to discuss and evaluate the potential impacts of biotechnology. This is the first time the university has hosted the event.

Cost for the conference is $500 ($200 for students) until May 31. Registration information and a complete conference schedule is available online.

Conference highlights include:

June 13
• “Ever-Green Farm Revolution and Sustainable Food Security,” M.S. Swaminathan, 1 p.m.

• “Finding the Right Solutions for Africa,” Kanayo F. Nwanze, 1 p.m.

• “Frankenfoods – What to Do When the Devil Has All The Good Songs,” Peter Calamai, national science writer, Toronto Star, 6 p.m.

June 14
• “The Eco-Footprint of Agriculture,” William Rees, professor, University of British Columbia, 8 a.m.

• “The Impact of Agricultural Biotechnology on Biodiversity: Myths and Facts,” Klaus Amman, director, botanical garden, University of Bern, Switzerland, 8 a.m.

June 15
• “The Goal is Proper Nutrition – How Do We Get There?” Suzanne Harris, International Life Sciences Institute in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the conference, contact Katie Meyer, co-oordinator, NABC 16, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 58923,

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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