MSU broadens research ties with United Nations FAO

During January meetings in Rome, Mississippi State officials formally broadened a 2010 agreement to work with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on initiatives to address world hunger and poverty.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum and FAO Deputy Director General Daniel Gustafson signed a memorandum of understanding that expands the 2010 foundation for collaborations focusing most immediately on aquatic animal health, disease prevention and emergency diagnostics, and FAO recognition of MSU as a Center for Knowledge for Aquatic Health.

The MSU delegation to Rome included Keenum, Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert, Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw, Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Greg Bohach, College of Veterinary Medicine Associate Dean Mark Lawrence, and Associate Vice President for International Programs Jon P. Rezek.

The MOU makes MSU a member of the Global Aquaculture Advancement Partnership and will engage MSU’s existing facilities and expertise in aquatic animal disease diagnostics and management to expand the work of FAO’s Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES). It is a component of FAO’s Food Chain Crisis Management Framework to prevent food chain emergencies, and to promote effective containment and management of the most serious epidemic pests and diseases and food safety threats through international cooperation.

“As a land-grant institution, Mississippi State has a distinguished history of research and education to advance global development,” Keenum said.

“We are well positioned to be in the forefront of developments that can reduce hunger and help other nations improve the response to needs within their own borders. This expanded agreement with FAO is another significant step forward in that process,” he said.



MSU President Mark E. Keenum, right, and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization Deputy Director General Daniel Gustafson signed a memorandum of understanding in January that expands a 2010 agreement for collaborations addressing aquatic animal health, disease prevention and emergency diagnostics. The agreement also recognizes MSU as a Center for Knowledge for Aquatic Health. Keenum led an MSU delegation to Rome that included university administrators involved in the partnership.

During a five-day mission to Rome with top Mississippi State University academic officers, MSU President Mark E. Keenum, right, met with United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) executive director Ertharin Cousin. Part of the United Nations System, the WFP has a special mission of responding to civil conflict, natural disasters and other emergency situations. It is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting worldwide hunger. Since 2010, MSU has partnered with WFP on issues related to food safety and nutrition.