Tribune Staff Report
Experts from around the world have issued a call for immediate action on the critical issue of food security at “Feeding Cities: Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World.” “Feeding Cities” is the first international conference to examine the link between food security and urbanization, drawing more than 450 participants during two and half days.
The conference, held in Philadelphia, was hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Institute of Urban Research in partnership with the School of Veterinary Medicine and a Penn Steering Committee representing nine Penn schools and six centers.
The conference fostered cross-disciplinary face-to-face conversation and provides an ongoing forum for deliberation at www.feedingcities.com and on social media platforms (to date, conference participants contributed 828 tweets at #feedingcities).
In the closing session of the conference, participants contributed to an “action agenda” that stresses the urgency of addressing food security around the world given the scale and pace of urbanization, population growth, and climate change.
“We have less than a generation to craft necessary innovation across all sectors of food production, distribution, food quality, and food safety to respond to the demands of unprecedented global urbanization,” according to the agenda. “Intensifying food production in places with scarcity will require innovative land conversion and agricultural intensification techniques, investment in modern agricultural practices, and new infrastructure and governance solutions. While governance systems vary, we have much to learn from quickly emerging adaptive techniques in developing countries.”
In an effort to create an actionable agenda, participants prioritized challenges and solutions in four key areas.
First, developing technologies and applying advanced techniques to foster healthy, sustainable and efficient agricultural and livestock production; increasing the flow of information to large and small farmers. Employing such emerging technologies as social media and cell phones, will be useful and can serve as critical instructional and informational tools.
Next, supporting the dissemination and sharing of technologies on small and medium farms through cooperatives or other mechanisms as well as on larger farms that can afford to invest in new technologies and achieve efficiencies of scale in order to produce affordable food. Designing animal/human habitation so that they can safely co-exist in complementary urban-rural environments.
Also, designing and developing infrastructure and human capital to support positive food environments by identifying opportunities and mitigating risks, while recognizing the complexities of behavior.
And, enhancing and expanding the disciplinary reach of food security and nutrition networks and programs to foster integrated knowledge around issues of food production, distribution, and consumption.
In keeping with the aim of the conference, the action agenda highlights the urgency and necessity of producing and supplying the world’s growing population with healthy, affordable and safe food in a sustainable manner. The stakes are high, and addressing the problem requires a commitment from various public and private sectors.
“In dealing with urban food security, we are not only contemplating how to feed people but also associated social, economic and human health issues,” reads the agenda. “This demands integrating food security considerations into broader public economic development policy by national governments and donor and lender groups.”
Youth advocate, entrepreneur and author Wes Moore will discuss the power of personal responsibility, education and positive influences on the lives of youth at Montgomery County Community College’s Annual Presidential Symposium on April 2, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.
While Moore’s life is full of notable accomplishments, his childhood was part of a different path and destiny. Raised by single mother in an urban neighborhood where drugs and crime were prevalent, Moore fell into the habit skipping school and getting into trouble with the law. Fearing the worst, his mother enrolled him at Valley Forge Military Academy and College — a decision that changed the course of his life.
Moore subsequently graduated Phi Theta Kappa as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge in 1998 and earned his bachelor’s degree 2001 in international relations at John Hopkins University, where he was honored by the Maryland College Football Hall of Fame. In 2004, he completed an MLitt in international relations at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Coincidentally, when the Baltimore Sun published an article in December 2000 about Moore’s receipt of the Rhodes Scholarship, it also published article about another young man also named Wes Moore. The other Wes Moore, however, was arrested for the murder of an off-duty police officer during an armed robbery and was sentenced to life in prison.
Moore read about the other Wes Moore and discovered they both lived in the same neighborhood as children. He realized it was only through fate, his mother’s perseverance and the positive influences of his education and mentors that changed the course of Moore’s life.
Because of these interventions, Moore was able to successfully complete his higher education and then become a paratrooper and Captain in the U.S. Army, where he served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the elite 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in 2005-06.
Then, as a White House Fellow from 2006-07, Moore served as a Special Assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Thereafter, he became an investment professional for Citigroup in New York. In 2009, he was selected as an Asia Society Fellow and was named one of Crain’s New York Business’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars.
During this time, Moore visted the other Wes Moore, and over time, they became friends. Moore then wrote about their lives in a book, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” to help young people find ways redirect their lives. Moore now is committed to helping youth and families find the support they need.
The program also will be simulcast to the South Hall Community Room at MCCC’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call (215) 641-6518 to request tickets.
Widener University has been selected as a Presidential award finalist for the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Widener, which has been named to the honor roll every year since its inception in 2006, was one of only 14 institutions nationwide to be named a Presidential award finalist, and one of only 113 institutions to make the honor roll “With Distinction.”
"To be named a Presidential award finalist is a tribute to the students, faculty and staff of Widener University and their dedication to our civic engagement mission," said Widener University President James T. Harris III. "It is also a testament to the willingness and enthusiasm of the community organizations we partner with in Chester, Delaware and Harrisburg. These initiatives are successful because we all work together as one."
This year, Widener was honored for three exemplary civic engagement initiatives:
The Widener Partnership Charter School (WPCS): The first university-based charter school in Pennsylvania, WPCS currently serves about 400 students in grades K-7. The school, which takes a holistic approach to education, serves the children and families of Chester. The WPCS aims to achieve three specific goals: to increase the number of STEM-prepared, college-eligible high school graduates; to strengthen students' preparation for STEM-focused high school education; and to enhance parents' capacity to support their child's academic success.
The Widener University Child Development Center: Created in 1981 to provide quality early childhood education for children ages 3 to 6, the center strives to be a model early childhood program for families, future teacher candidates, university students, faculty members, and the community. Fifty percent of the children represent low-income families, and about 25 percent live in the city of Chester.
The College Access Center of Delaware County: An initiative of the Chester Higher Education Council, a consortium of six area colleges and universities, the College Access Center of Delaware County provides county residents with college and career awareness, study skills development, tutoring, mentoring, and assistance with their college application and financial aid process.
In recent years, Newsweek ranked Widener among the top service-minded colleges and universities in the nation. The university has also ranked among the top institutions in the annual Washington Monthly rankings since the magazine's inaugural college issue in 2005. In addition, Widener was among the first universities in the nation to be categorized as a "community engagement" institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers the Honor Roll, admitted a total of 690 colleges and universities.
Of that total, 572 were named to the Honor Roll, 113 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as Presidential Award Finalists, and five received the Presidential Award.
"We congratulate the awardees and the students for their dedication to service," said Wendy Spencer, chief executive officer of CNCS. "These institutions have inspired students and faculty alike to roll up their sleeves and work alongside members of the community to solve problems and improve their neighbors' lives."
"Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Civic engagement should be a key component of every student's education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens."
Efforts to market Philadelphia as a tourism destination will be bolstered by U.S. Airways plan to launch direct flight service between Philadelphia International Airport and Brazil in October 2014.
In efforts to expand the global message of Philadelphia as a modern renaissance city, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) has delved into key emerging markets to capture market share of increased travel to the United States from countries with expanding economic growth such as China, India, and Brazil.
“Philadelphia’s finest days are ahead of us,” says Jack Ferguson, PHLCVB president and CEO.
“We are a city of innovation that will continue to grow and flourish in a global arena. The direct service between PHL and Sao Paulo by U.S. Airways is a testament to that. We are proud to have U.S. Airways and Philadelphia International Airport as partners promoting the growth of PHL and creating a direct gateway between Brazil and Philadelphia.”
According to PHLCVB, travel to the U.S. from Brazil has seen double-digit growth for eight consecutive years. In 2011, visitors from Brazil spent a record-breaking $8.5 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related activities.
According to the Office of Tourism and Travel Industries (OTTI), Philadelphia drew 16,000 travelers from Brazil in 2010. That number grew to 27,000 in 2011. PHLCVB officials say Brazil is a key emerging market for Philadelphia and will remain a focus for 2013 and beyond.
In Brazil, the PHLCVB has focused on several key tactics to build destination awareness and strengthen relations with tour operators, planners and key media that promote consumer overnight packages and extend market reach.
The PHLCVB contracts and partners with Interamerican Network, a travel and tourism marketing and public relations firm located in Sao Paulo, Brazil to serve as the PHL in-market representative. As a PHL partner, Interamerican identifies sales leads, marketing opportunities and media outlets to promote the destination.
In April, Ferguson, and international tourism sales manager Natalia Gamarra, will represent Philadelphia during Gov. Tom Corbett’s trade mission to Brazil. As part of the trip, the PHLCVB will hold destination presentations at tourism events; as well as face-to-face meetings with tour operators, travel agents and corporate meeting planners in Brazil and Chile; attend VIP events with high-level officials from both regions and network with university executives and high-level government officials.
In September 2012 the PHLCVB attended Braztoa, a leading travel meeting held in Sao Paulo, which attracts more than 3,500 travel agents and tourism professionals from across Brazil and the globe. While in attendance, the PHLCVB met with 22 top tour operators to promote travel from Brazil to Philadelphia. Currently the PHLCVB is working with many of these operators including Monark, Soft, Designer and MMT, to create and promote Philadelphia travel packages.
As a result of Philadelphia’s presence at Braztoa, a seven-page Philadelphia itinerary was published in Folha, the second largest newspaper in Brazil. Furthermore, the PHLCVB welcomed the chief editor of ViagensGerais, travel magazine, in November, leading to the production of several radio programs as well as on-line and print destination pieces on Philadelphia.
Freddy Adu’s troubled time with the Philadelphia Union could be drawing to a close, and it could well present him with a unique career opportunity.
According to a report from Soccer By Ives, Adu is on the verge of sealing a move to Brazilian top-flight outfit Bahia. A transfer would give the embattled Designated Player a fresh start in a league renowned for its technical level and growing financial clout.
For the Union, the move would allow the team to avoid the unwanted possibility of having Adu occupy a DP slot and having his salary count against the cap while not playing for the club. The now 23-year-old signed with the Union in 2011, but struggled to find consistency despite the occasional flashes of brilliance, leading Union head coach John Hackworth to leave him out of the team’s plans for 2013.
A report out of Brazil Saturday claimed that the deal could actually be a trade of sorts, with former Brazilian international attacking midfielder Kléberson joining the Union in exchange for Adu. Kléberson, 33, has played for Atlético Paranaense, Manchester United, Besiktas and Flamengo in his career, and joined Bahia in 2012. However, he has found playing time difficult with the Tricolor recently, making only 12 since signing in July.
Bahia, based in the northern metropolis of Salvador, finished 15th out of 20 in the 2012 Brazilian Série A and are the dominant team in the Bahia state, having won the state championship on 44 occasions. Brazilian soccer is currently in the middle of its state championship, with the national league set to kick off on May 26 and run until December.
The Philadelphia Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.