Friday, May 20, 2016

Thoughts on Food and Food for Thought

The academic year in Bologna has come to an end.  As many students head off to summer internships around the world, Lauren Purnell, a student in the Master of Arts program pursuing the International Development concentration, shares her experiences of a recent study trip to Rome with Professor Jacqueline Mazza. Below are her reflections.

Rome acts as a hub for U.N. organizations, focusing on the food security and agriculture sectors.

The headquarters of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are all located in Rome. 

I and 22 of my classmates had the opportunity to visit all three organizations this past May during a two-day study trip with Professor Jacqueline Mazza who teaches a course on Market Policies in Developing Countries: Rethinking Approaches in a Global Age.

As part of this unique experience, we received lectures on a wide range of topics related to food security and labor. On the first day at the WFP, for example, we heard from experts on emergency operations and capacity development. Following these presentations, we visited the IFAD to learn more about rural employment challenges, remittances, and investment.

On the second day of the study trip, we observed a presentation by Prof. Mazza to FAO on her book “Labor Intermediation Services in Developing Economies, Adapting Employment Services in a Global Age.”  This lecture was followed by a technical lecture on the effect of conditional cash transfers on labor markets and a talk on trade and employment.

The two day study trip proved quite a valuable and enriching experience.

The educational value received from this trip was undeniable. We had the rare opportunity to ask questions directly to experts and have in-depth discussions. 

Staff members at all three organizations were happy to engage us on these topics and were very enthusiastic to find so many young scholars interested in these fields. The learning experience of the trip not only benefited us but also staff members at these organizations, opening dialogues and exchanges that will continue on.

Lauren Purnell 
(SAIS Europe 2016)