University launches food security program 

The American University of Beirut has established a food security program. The program offers an interdisciplinary approach to graduate-level education on the issue of food security, with a particular focus on the MENA region. Courses will run this summer, and the plan is to expand its offerings in early 2016, and improve research output in the related disciplines of food security.

The Food Security Program (FSP) at the American University of Beirut will educate a new generation of leaders in the Middle East and North Africa and throughout the Arab world, preparing them to address the vital issue of food security in an interdisciplinary and hands-on fashion.

Our innovative summer Diploma in Food Security offers the first interdisciplinary food security program in the MENA region, and caters to individuals aspiring to enhance or complement their technical and decision-making tools in the area of food security. With its pioneering curriculum, FSP provides a unique opportunity to overcome compartmentalized thinking and foster dialogue between relevant disciplines like agriculture, nutrition, health, and development economics.

Food security is essential for economic development and political stability, as events following the global food crisis and the Arab Spring have demonstrated. Yet, a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to food security is too often missing in the MENA region as food security is equated with food self-sufficiency and proposed solutions focus exclusively on agricultural production.

This approach is ill-suited to the region given widespread water scarcity. Moreover, a narrow approach neglects important issues such as food accessibility, post-harvest loss, value chain management, food safety, and linkages with health issues and wider economic development.

AUB is an ideal place to learn about food security, given our unique position as the oldest institution of modern higher education in the Middle East, our leadership in agricultural and food sciences with a proven track record of community work and outreach activities, and our commitment to interdisciplinary solutions to global challenges.

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