GW to create Global Food Institute, research food system solutions

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

The release states that GW and chef José Andrés, pictured here in 2020, partnered to launch the institute, which will educate future leaders on “food system solution delivery."

Officials announced the creation of a new research institute to improve global food sustainability, security and distribution in partnership with “world-renowned” chef and former Commencement keynote speaker José Andrés in a release Tuesday.

The release states that the Global Food Institute will research national and international food policies and technology, direct “critical conversations” about the societal effects of food intake and educate future leaders on “food system solution delivery.” Andrés – a chef for the José Andrés Group, which operates more than 30 restaurants, and the founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that distributes food to communities in crisis – provided initial funding for the project and will guide the institute using “policy, innovation and humanity” as “pillars” for research, according to the release.

Andrés, who delivered a keynote address at University Commencement in 2014, said the global food system is currently experiencing a “crisis” related to systemic inequities, “rampant” hunger and poverty, climate change and deteriorating public health and nutrition.

“The Global Food Institute will reshape how we think about food, break down barriers across industries, politics, and nations, and inspire and empower the next generation to develop systemic solutions that reshape the food system,” Andrés said.

The institute will focus on hiring an executive director and filling other leadership, staff and faculty positions, finding a location for operations and searching for community partners in the “coming months,” according to the release.

Philanthropy and partnerships with individuals, organizations, foundations and companies will fund the institute, according to the release. The release states that Nelson A. and Michele M. Carbonell Family Foundation, a private independent foundation, will fund the executive director position and The Rockefeller Foundation, a private organization that funds medical research and arts, will also donate to the institute.

“We are incredibly honored by—and grateful for—the generous support from these visionary donors that share our aspirations to solve these seemingly intractable challenges,” Donna Arbide, the vice president for development and alumni relations, said.

The release states that the University’s location, experience working with both government and independent entities and focus on education across disciplines positions the institute to “drive” progress in food distribution. Interim University President Mark Wrighton said the institute aligns with the University’s commitment to accelerating the “positive impact” that interdisciplinary education has on solving global issues.

“We are thrilled to establish in partnership with José Andrés the Global Food Institute—a center that will create new knowledge and shape national and international progress on food system issues,” Wrighton said.

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