Madeleine Albright Visits UNL to Discuss Food Science

madeleine albright signing a bookMadeleine Albright fits the bill as a sharp, interesting woman who had a great impact on American history.

As America’s first female Secretary of State, she set the bar high and took steps towards equality for females in government. It’s a success story when now, Albright’s young granddaughter, wonders, “so what’s the big deal about Grandma Maddie having been Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretaries of State.”

She spent most of her adult life raising three daughters, obtaining graduate degrees, and holding distinguished positions in American government, including her tenure as Ambassador to the UN for President Clinton’s first term. She was appointed Secretary of State in 1997 at the start of his second term, becoming the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. She certainly knows her stuff, to say the least, so the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was certainly lucky to have her, as the Omaha World-Herald reports, as a keynote speaker at their new Innovation Campus in May.

Albright was a speaker at the Food Factory of the Future Conference, a major conference on the UNL campus for attendees who work for major food producers and startups. According to the World-Herald, Albright acknowledged affection for Nebraska’s Runza sandwich, which reminded her of food in her native Czechoslovakia, and praised the University of Nebraska for its role researching water and food security issues.

Thanks to a University of Nebraska Foundation fund targeted toward developing programs of excellence at UNL, Albright spoke for quite a while on issues of food security in America. According to Albright, “food security is not just about politics or economics. For Americans, feeding the world is a moral imperative.”

“Morality should be front and center in shaping global food policy,” Albright explained. At UNL, the Innovation Center is now home to future innovators and thinkers who will be shaping global food policy in their careers with food processing firms, government agencies, and educational institutions. Food processing, food engineering, and commodity processing are all aspects of the food science program that make it quite clear that food manufacturers have a part to play in Albright’s message. So, for a school like UNL with massive resources, talented students, and dynamic learning spaces, the potential to do good in the world with food science and food manufacturing is simply enormous.

Albright also urged companies to form more private-public partnerships and improve the messaging on genetically modified crops so policymakers worldwide will support them. She also acknowledged that the responsibility to make global food policy beneficial to countries with starving populations is not simply on the backs of the governments: Albright claimed that the onus is on corporations to focus on food nutrition, responsible water use, climate security, and on being good partners.

For those interested in attending UNL, particularly for food science, food manufacturing, or food or commodity processing, there has never been a better time to do so. With the new Innovation Campus and the benefit of hosting incredible speakers like Albright, it is clear that there is major philanthropic potential to be initiated by food scientists from Nebraska.

photo credit: Madeleine Albright via photopin (license)