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Global Studies Center Hosts Seminar on the Geopolitics of Food Security

Date: 
28 November 2016

Gulf University for Science and Technology’s (GUST) Global Studies Center (GSC), in coordination with the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS), hosted a seminar titled “The Geopolitics of Food Security: New Players in Global Value Chains and what it Means for Food Importers in the Middle East”. The session was led by Prof. Eckart Woertz, a scientific advisor to the Kuwait Chair at Sciences Po in Paris, and was attended by students, faculty, and the general public.

 

The purpose of the seminar was to provide a Middle Eastern frame of reference to the Gulf food system and the way their societies are situated within the global food-production economy. This included going through earlier Gulf investment attempts in the 1970s, and how they fit in the newly emerging geo-economic landscape of global food markets. Dr. Eckart then related this to the wake of the global food crisis of 2008, where Middle Eastern oil producers announced multi-billion dollar investments to secure food supplies from outside the region. He also highlighted the controversy of these investments at the heart of the global food security challenge that put the Middle East in the spotlight of simultaneous global crises in the fields of food, finance, and energy.

 

Speaking ahead of the lecture, prof. Woertz, said, “The Middle East is not only the world's largest oil exporter, but also its largest importer of food. Global food value chains and a sustainable management of the water-energy-food nexus are crucial for its future.”

 

The lecture, which lasted for 45 minutes, was followed by a Q&A session where attendees had the chance to question and discuss Prof. Weortz’s arguments.

 

The GSC was founded in 2015 year in partnership with the National University of Singapore, and aims to conduct cutting-edge research on cross-national political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental issues of critical importance, and share research output and information regionally and globally.  It seeks to foster public understanding of global issues and support the policy-making processes of concerned states. 

 

Previous events hosted by the GSC include a discussion to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, sponsored by the US Embassy in Kuwait, a lecture by Dr. Peter Sluglett, an expert on Middle Eastern history and Director of the Middle East Institute at NUS, entitled: “An Improvement on Colonialism? The ‘A’ Mandates and their Legacy in the Middle East”, and one by Dr. Daniel Brumberg, the Kuwait Program Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs, on US-Arab Relations in a Time of Crisis.