IRC2018 Keynote Speakers
Sara Menker is founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a technology company that is bridging data gaps across the global agriculture sector, empowering decision makers and creating a more informed, connected, efficient and productive global agriculture industry.
Prior to founding Gro, Menker was a vice president in Morgan Stanley's commodities group. She began her career in commodities risk management, where she covered all commodity markets, and she subsequently moved to trading, where she managed a trading portfolio.
Menker is a trustee of the Mandela Institute For Development Studies (MINDS) and a trustee of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). She was named a Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum and is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute.
Menker received a B.A. in Economics and African Studies at Mount Holyoke College and the London School of Economics and an M.B.A. from Columbia University."
Patrick Webb is a Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University.
He is the Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition, and also Principal Investigator for the Office of Food for Peace’s Food Aid Quality Review. The latter builds on his work as Chief of Nutrition for the World Food Program in Rome, the former builds on 9 earlier years at IFPRI.
In his spare time, Patrick serves as Technical Adviser for the London-based Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, he’s a member of the CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partnership Council, and also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council on Food Security and Agriculture.
In addition to the Friedman School, Prof. Webb has academic affiliations with Hohenheim University (Germany), Patan Academy of Health Sciences (Nepal), and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts.
Minh Le, a development economist, advocates for a world free of poverty and injustice. For over 20 years, Minh has strived to improve livelihoods, income security, and the resilience of rural communities in Asia and Africa.
With Oxfam, Minh leads various initiatives to pursue improvements in the global rice sector. Her efforts have contributed to shifting the power dynamics of the food systems, resulting in support for small-scale producers, particularly women, to claim their rights. Her work is part of Oxfam’s commitment to promote fair and sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Prior to joining Oxfam, Minh has held positions with various international development organisations, including FAO, World Bank, and DFID.
Sunny co-founded Olam in 1989 and leads the Company’s strategy, planning, business development and management. His external Directorships include Chairman of International Enterprise Singapore and the Human Capital Leadership Institute.
Verghese had been with the Kewalram Chanrai Group (K.C. Group) for nearly 3 decades and in 1989 was mandated to start the Company with a view to building an agricultural products business. Before joining the K.C. Group, he worked for Unilever in India. Sunny has won several awards including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Singapore in 2008 and Best CEO of the Year 2011 at the Singapore Corporate Awards. He was also awarded the Public Service Medal by the Government of the Republic of Singapore in 2010. Sunny also serves as a commissioner of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. In 2017, Sunny was appointed as the new Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Dr. Werner Vogels is responsible for driving Amazon’s customer-centric technology vision.
As one of the forces behind the company’s approach to cloud computing, he is passionate about helping young businesses reach global scale, and transforming enterprises into fast-moving digital organizations.
Vogels joined Amazon in 2004 from Cornell University where he was a distributed systems researcher. He has held technology leadership positions in companies that handle the transition of academic technology into industry. Vogels holds a PhD from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and has authored many articles on distributed systems technologies for enterprise computing.
Zhang Qifa has focused his research and provided leadership in genomics and biotechnology of rice in China, especially rice functional genomics and Green Super Rice (GSR). His research achievements include: (1) genetic and functional characterization of genes for agronomically important traits, including yield, male sterility, and reproductive isolation; (2) characterization of the genetic basis of heterosis in hybrid rice; (3) establishment of technological platforms for functional genomics studies; and (4) development of integrated breeding technology for GSR development.
Qifa is a professor in Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU), served as the Dean of College of Life Science and Technology of HZAU from 1994 to 2013 and Director of the National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement from 1999 to 2016. He was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1999, the Third World Academy of Sciences in 2000, and foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA in 2007.