Peace, agriculture conference empowers developing leaders

The second Empowerment for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability (EmPeace LABS) conference trained agriculture and community leaders from developing countries in Jalgaon, India on October 20-26. Sustainability Scientists Marek Wosinski and Rimjhim Aggarwal organized the conference with partners Gandhi Research Foundation and Jain Irrigation Systems, Ltd. to explore sustainable agribusiness, leadership and community development, peace, and violence prevention.

The conference brought together young community leaders from 18 countries including India, Rwanda, Nigeria and Lebanon, where hunger strikes the hardest. And where there's hunger, there's violence.

"When people are hungry, they fight for resources," Wosinski says, referencing the 2004 United Nations University Report, "Agriculture for Peace." "If you want to create peace and stability in developing countries, you need to secure food."

The conference was a perfect mix of knowledgeable lectures and practice-based workshops. The participants collaborated together to develop and propose their own sustainable agribusiness project that they could implement in their community.

EmPeace Conference

"The topics we discussed during the lectures and hands-on workshops are crucial for sustainable economic development and poverty eradication in rural communities across the globe," says Wosinski, also a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology and facilitator of University-Community Partnerships for Social Action Research. "For many of the participants, the most important aspect of the conference was seeing proof that it is possible to create a sustainable agribusiness that will be environmentally sound, socially responsible, transparent, and ethical."