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One Book Author Roger Thurow to Give Keynote

Writer to talk about global agriculture, world hunger and the genesis of his work

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January 30, 2014 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Roger Thurow, author of the 2013-14 One Book One Northwestern selection, will deliver the One Book initiative’s keynote lecture Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Throughout the year, Thurow’s book, “The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change,” has sparked discussions of food security, poverty, international development, gender roles and social entrepreneurship, and has served as a springboard for activities, including an African dance class, lectures and demonstrations of African cooking. All were organized through the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies.

Thurow will discuss what has happened to the four Kenyan families he profiled in “The Last Hunger Season” and share insights he gained from years of reporting on famine, agricultural policy and world hunger. His lecture will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Room 107 of Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus. A book signing will follow his free and public lecture.

A 30-year veteran reporter with The Wall Street Journal and a Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting finalist for a series he co-wrote about famine in Africa, Thurow is a senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The “hunger season” in his book’s title refers to a months-long period each year when food from the previous harvest runs out until new crops grow in and during which small farmers in East Africa typically go hungry.

“The Last Hunger Season” documents the ways in which a group of small holder farmers in western Kenya worked to make the hunger season a thing of the past, with assistance from the One Acre Fund, a social enterprise organization founded by Kellogg School of Management graduate Andrew Youn.

Youn created the One Acre Fund in 2006 when he donated $7,000 for a 40-family demonstration project. Six years later, the program had assisted 130,000 families, including more than 520,000 children, with more than $7 million in donor support.

Thurow’s first book, “ENOUGH: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty,” co-written with Scott Kilman, earned its authors the Action Against Hunger’s Humanitarian Award and the Harry Chapin Why Hunger book award.

Brian Hanson, One Book faculty chair and interim director of Northwestern’s Buffett Center, called Thurow’s book “a powerful portrait of challenges faced by hundreds of millions of people around the world each and every day.”

“It is a loud and clear call to students encouraging them to make a difference in the world and to confront seemingly insurmountable problems,” Hanson added. “That’s very much in line with Northwestern’s strategic plan.”

One Book One Northwestern is a community-wide reading program hosted by the Office of the President. For more information about it and the upcoming Feb. 5 keynote lecture, visit the One Book website.

Topics: Campus Life