New Project Explores the Significance of the First 1000 Days of Life
Roger Thurow’s distinguished record of reporting for The Wall Street Journal includes insightful writings on the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela and wars in the former Yugoslavia, and global issues, large and small. Through an exhaustive and exhausting three decades as a journalist – two of them as a global correspondent – Thurow carved a distinctive global path, giving new understanding to millions of readers.
His own “awakening” however, came in a small hut in Ethiopia in 2003. There he witnessed a father and son’s very personal and poignant struggle with starvation, prompting him and a Journal colleague Scott Kilman to write a series of stories on famine in Africa. Honored by the United Nations and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, their reporting on humanitarian and development issues was widely followed and referenced. Together Thurow and Kilman authored the 2010 book ENOUGH: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty.
The problem of hunger –the problem of the ages – quickly took Thurow’s heart and mind captive, ultimately prompting him to move beyond his reporter’s role. Departing WSJ in 2010, he became a Senior Fellow, Global Agriculture and Food Policy of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and in 2012, he authored The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change.
Though his reporter days are behind him, Thurow is still telling this important story to millions, finding the task of illuminating the global hunger challenge both daunting and transformative. His new “1000 Days Project” is certain to propel understanding of the hunger challenge to an even greater level. The effort includes multimedia reporting and storytelling via blog posts and video as Thurow follows small groups of women and their children in India, Uganda, Guatemala and the United States.
The goal is to illuminate the vital importance of proper nutrition and health care in the 1,000 days window, from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday. Ultimately, a new book will result.
IFAMA/CCA World Forum participants are anxiously anticipating Thurow’s preview of his 1000 day project. On the morning of Wednesday, June 18, Thurow will delve deeply into the human and economic dimensions of the first 1000 days and how this critical timeframe impacts lives in rich and poor countries alike. Novus’ Tricia Beal, anticipating Thurow’s presentation comments: “It will be interesting for this community, so many of whom have devoted their lives and careers to agribusiness, to hear from one who is spending so much time with his boots on the ground.”
Thurow’s presentation will also explore his understandings the economics and the politics of malnutrition and hunger. “If we want to increase a child’s chances of living a healthy and productive life, industry and academia must invest our talents and treasure in helping to ensure better nutrition in the 1,000 day window between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday,” comments IFAMA President, Thad Simons. “Some believe that this is the most impactful investment we can make to help families, communities and countries break the cycle of poverty.”
The more than 500 participants in the Forum, jointly presented by the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), represent academia, industry and government, as well as NGOs. The Forum’s theme – People Feed the World – is intended to broaden the dialogue on the critical points these colleagues share across sectors, making Thurow a timely and relevant choice for the morning keynote.
Roger Thurow graduated from the University of Iowa. He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Anne, and their two children, Brian and Aishling.
About the 2014 Agribusiness & Food World Forum
Jointly presented by the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the 2014 Agribusiness & Food World Forum will focus on Africa as a region of limitless opportunity, where agribusiness has the potential to be the engine that drives dynamic, unprecedented economic growth and development. Hosted June 15-19, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa, the overarching framework for the forum is People Feed the World. Interactive discussions and presentations will engage students, academic, government and business leaders and focus on the common and binding factor of the human talent and potential to achieve global nutritional security.
IFAMA is an international management organization based in Washington, DC, that brings together current and future business, academic, and government leaders along with other industry stakeholders to improve the strategic focus, transparency, sustainability, and responsiveness of the global food and agribusiness system. IFAMA has over 700 members in more than 50 countries, and serves as an effective worldwide networking organization, bridging the agribusiness industry, researchers, educators, government, consumer groups and non-governmental organizations.
CCA is a nonprofit, membership-based organization promoting business and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa. CCA is the premier American organization devoted to U.S.-Africa business relations and includes as members more than 160 companies, which represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. CCA’s members represent a diverse pool of industries from Africa’s most promising sectors, including agribusiness, capacity building, energy, finance, health, ICT, infrastructure and security.