GUST's Global Stud­ies Cen­ter hosts Sem­i­nar on the Geopol­i­tics of Food Se­cu­rity

Kuwait Times - - WHAT’S ON -

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.

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