Food Security PhD Student Presents at Peace Summit in South Korea
Development Lecturer and PhD candidate in the Discipline of Food Security in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), Ms Mbalenhle Gwacela, presented her research findings at the First Annual Commemoration of the World Alliance of Religions Peace (WARP) Summit in Seoul, South Korea.
The three-day Summit was arranged and hosted by the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).
Gwacela’s study is on the relationship between student food insecurity and academic potential and its impact on a country’s growth and development.
Invited by the International Peace Youth Group, Gwacela’s presentation provided an opportunity for the exploration and discussion of food security and its relation to peace.
Gwacela was one of many students and academics who participated in the summit, with youth leader representatives from England, Nigeria and the United States and other countries attending.
Her presentation was on work she is doing towards her PhD titled: “Achieving Food Security for University Students through Stakeholder Joint Participation: A Food Bank Model”.
Gwacela was also selected to act as a session chair for one of the presentation clusters - an exciting experience she said was an honour.
According to Gwacela, topics discussed during the summit included peace and conflicts between countries, and hidden hunger, a relatively new term to many people and one which Gwacela noted seemed taboo to some.
Since armed conflicts are enemies of food security, these were also discussed.
Gwacela said she had many discussions on the topic of how the global youth community can join forces to address challenges that threaten the global community’s future and livelihood.
‘I realised that there is so much that the world can benefit from through research. The fact that one is able to solve a question and contribute towards the knowledge economy in an innovative way is what I look forward to,’ said Gwacela.
‘Food security is an extremely broad subject and there are many more other sectors that can benefit from the knowledge and the links that are within food security. When I learned that developed countries actually don’t know much about food insecurity and hidden hunger, I realised that there is a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot of it lies in publishing and making your work known.’
She gratefully acknowledged the support of her supervisor, Dr Unathi Kolanisi, who assisted her with arrangements for the trip, as well as the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science for its support through a travel grant.