$5-million gift to McGill’s Global Food Security Institute supports efforts to understand and reverse world hunger and malnutrition

December 2018

Maggie Gilliam (centre) with Dean Anja Geitmann and McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier

Every night, some 800 million people – one in nine people on earth – go to bed hungry. And projections suggest that unless creative solutions are found, the world will need to increase food production by an additional 50% in the next 30 years, when the planet’s population is expected to exceed 9 billion.

At a special announcement on McGill University’s Macdonald Campus, researchers affiliated with the University’s Institute for Global Food Security revealed that our prospects now seem somewhat more encouraging, thanks to a landmark gift of $5 million from McGill alumna Margaret A. Gilliam, BSc’59.

The donation – the largest ever to McGill from a graduate residing in New York – will help the campus’s professors, researchers and growing contingent of graduate students in their ongoing efforts to understand the root causes of hunger and malnutrition, and develop novel solutions to eradicate food insecurity around the world.

The University also announced that, as a token of appreciation, it is naming the Institute in Margaret Gilliam’s honour – the Margaret A. Gilliam Institute for Global Food Security.

Read more… Press release  |  Livestream of event  |  Watch video  |  Read “A Champion for the World’s Hungry”

“Maggie Gilliam’s gift will have a huge impact on our ability to respond to one of the most pressing challenges of our time — global hunger,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. “Her motivation is simple and profound. She wants to do something meaningful to ensure that everyone has secure access to a sufficient, safe, and nutritious food supply. Her support reflects her belief that research can change lives.”

Over the six years that he has been Director of the Institute, Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez has had almost 25 graduate students as part of the research group. “The program is growing very, very fast,” said Melgar-Quiñonez. “And funding from the private sector is crucial for us.”

Institute students are working across the globe in areas of food scarcity, maternal, child and elder nutrition, agricultural sustainability, post-harvest technologies, household security, gender equity, effects of political instability on food security, policies and food security. Gilliam’s gift will allow the Institute to chart an even more ambitious course and open up new and exciting opportunities for students.

Read more about the research that Institute students are carrying out, and about some of the food security innovations that Macdonald students are leading. Watch a video of one student’s internship with the UN World Food Programme.

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