HAFL at FAO World Food Forum

17.10.2023 Members of a four-person youth delegation share their thoughts about attending this massive week-long event.

Rome is buzzing this week for the World Food Forum (WFF). Group International Agriculture assistants Célia Bühler, Katharina Ineichen and Micha Fournier and Food, Nutrition and Health MSc student Sucheta Mitra are there to represent HAFL and Switzerland.

Three forums, as well as many events and workshops, are running in parallel; our delegation will take part in the Global Youth Forum. All events focus on this year’s theme “Agrifood systems transformation accelerates climate action.”

Learn from global voices

Célia looks forward to being challenged by other participants’ views and finding out the themes important in other countries. “I think that with our work and studies we are constantly immersed in the HAFL culture,” she said, “and we have a certain vision of agriculture and its place in the food system, which also has positives. 

“However, I’m curious to see whether our concerns echo those of other participants. I think we can act more effectively when we are aware of many realities outside our own.” 

Because the event is so large, the group has arranged to split and then report back each evening to share each day’s highlights. They will then bring these insights back to HAFL.

Expand networks

Katharina is excited about exchanging with people from all over the world and expanding her network. “It will be interesting to hear and learn from different experiences, viewpoints, ideas, and approaches related to agrifood systems and climate change,” she said. 

“I hope to have a week full of meaningful discussions that will inspire me and provide a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the agrifood sector. I aim to apply this knowledge both in my daily life and in my professional career.”  

Célia also hopes to create connections that will be valuable for future collaborations. “It is a big machine and I feel very small at the heart of such a congress, but I do believe in the impact we can have on our local environment,” she said. “If we manage to be inspired by other initiatives, exchange ideas with young people from other countries, and learn new methods or concepts, I will be happy. 

“I think it is then our responsibility to extract the essence that will make sense for our actions in Switzerland. What is important to me is that we do not just bring back great speeches, but ideas for concrete actions that we can put in place at our own level.”

Engage with experts

Sucheta eagerly awaits the opportunity to engage with global leaders, experts, and innovators and explore innovative and community-centric solutions to address food security worldwide. “I believe our attendance and visibility at the World Food Forum is key,” she said. 

“It signifies our institution’s dedication to staying at the forefront of global developments. I aim to bring back a wealth of knowledge and success stories that will not only enrich my education but also be shared within our academic community.” 

We’ll follow up on the group’s WFF experiences in another article after they return.

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Subject area: International agriculture and rural development
Category: International