IRC2018 Keynote Speakers
Matthew Morell is IRRI’s director general, the institute’s chief executive officer (CEO), directly managing and administering its affairs in accordance with the policies and decisions of the IRRI Board of Trustees. He sets the institute’s strategic direction in close consultation with the board. Before assuming the role of director general, Matthew was deputy director general for research, providing strategic leadership to IRRI’s research and outreach programs across various dimensions of rice science.
Prior to his senior management roles at IRRI, Matthew was theme leader for 17 years at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) where he led a research program on Future Grains and Plant Oil Production. He also has extensive experience in identifying, protecting, and managing intellectual property, as well as establishing a means for strong compliance with the requirements of gene technology regulations, genetic modification stewardship, and occupational health and safety legislation. He holds a PhD in agricultural chemistry from the University of Sydney, and did postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Davis and served as research fellow at the Australian National University. Matthew is also a Fellow of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), and of the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC Academy).
Gilbert F. Houngbo became the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 1 April 2017. Born and raised in rural Togo, Houngbo has spent more than 30 years working to improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. He previously served as Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) where he led field operations in more than 100 countries. From 2008-2012, he was Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo. He has also held numerous leadership positions at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
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.
Krysta Harden is Vice President, External Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.
Prior to her role at DowDuPont, Ms. Harden was DuPont Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Sustainability Officer, joining DuPont in February 2016.
Before joining DuPont, Ms. Harden served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where she helped to shape food and agriculture policy, including leading implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill. At USDA and throughout her career in agriculture, Ms. Harden has focused on growing the ranks of agriculture and expanding opportunity for women, young people, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees. Prior to her service as deputy secretary, she held USDA leadership positions as chief of staff to the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and assistant secretary for Congressional Relations. Preceding her service at USDA, Ms. Harden spent five years as CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), providing national leadership for natural resource conservation and representing thousands of conservation districts across the nation.
In addition to serving as CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts, she has also worked with the American Soybean Association as senior vice president of Gordley Associates, where she concentrated on conservation and renewable energy issues. She also served 12 years on Capitol Hill, as staff director for the House subcommittee on Peanuts and Tobacco, and as chief of staff and press secretary for former Congressman Charles Hatcher.
Ms. Harden received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Georgia.
Jens Hartmann is Head of the Asia Pacific Region for the Crop Science Division of Bayer since October 2016, where he is responsible for the agricultural business of Bayer in the Asia Pacific region.
Jens has worked in the agricultural industry for nearly 30 years. He first began his career in crop protection with Bayer in Germany in 1987, and has since held various commercial and managerial positions in the head office in Monheim, as well as South Africa, Kenya and Pakistan.
During the formation of Bayer CropScience AG in 2001, Jens joined the global integration office. The following year, he assumed the position of team leader in Portfolio Management Insecticides. In 2004, Jens was transferred to Mumbai, India where he was responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the sub-region South Asia and to manage the country organization of Bayer CropScience India.
He returned to Germany in May 2011 to take on the position of Head of ACO Marketing. As of January 2015, Jens assumed the role of CIO of Bayer CropScience, to lead the Organization & Information team and to transform the function into IT Business Partner, Crop Science within Bayer Business Services as of July 2016.
Jens has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and enjoys running, the outdoors and music. A German by origin, he currently resides with his family in Singapore.
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.
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.