Chair Appointment Marks a Historic First for Board
President Joe Biden has announced his intent to appoint new members of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), including Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander as Chair. BIFAD is a seven-member, presidentially appointed advisory committee to USAID to ensure it brings the assets of U.S. universities to bear on development challenges in agriculture and food security and supports their representation in USAID programming.
Dr. Alexander’s appointment as BIFAD Chair marks the first time the board is chaired by a leader of an 1890 public land grant university, acknowledging the valuable contributions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and presenting an opportunity to further strengthen USAID’s partnerships with HBCUs and other U.S Minority Serving Institutions.
“Thank you to President Biden for this appointment. I’m honored to serve in this capacity,” Chancellor Alexander said. “As Chancellor of Arkansas’ only land-grant HBCU institution, our mission is steeped in innovation and discovery. This BIFAD appointment will be an excellent opportunity to expand awareness about the leading industry in the state of Arkansas—agriculture. In addition, it will further expand awareness about the research and extension mission of land-grant universities, and specifically about UAPB’s initiatives, such as the agriculture and aquaculture research in which our renowned faculty are engaged, as well as our outreach services to small farmers in the state.”
Along with the appointment of Dr. Alexander as Chair, President Biden also appointed the following new members: Dr. Marie Boyd, Associate Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina; Dr. Rattan Lal, 2020 World Food Prize Laureate, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science, and Director of the Center for Carbon Management and Sequestration at The Ohio State University; Dr. Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University; Ms. Henri Moore, Vice President and Head of Responsible Business, GSK Consumer Health; and Ms. Kathy Spahn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helen Keller International. The announcement also extends the appointment of Dr. Pamela Anderson, Director General Emerita of the International Potato Center.
Serving as thought leaders and conveners of diverse expert dialogues, the Board has recently provided evidence-based recommendations to USAID on protecting and advancing nutrition and food security outcomes during COVID-19 response and recovery; improving the agricultural sector and food security in conflict-affected and fragile contexts; and measuring the benefits of global agricultural development investment on the U.S economy.