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Plenary speakers

Hon Tim Fischer FTSE is a former Army Officer, former NSW State Parliamentarian, former Leader of the National Party, Minister for Trade & Deputy Prime Minister, now Consultant and Company Director and multiple Patron. Tim is the author of three successful books, and has a number of works in progress. In relation to honorary activities, Mr Fischer has accepted positions including the following: Chair of the Crawford Fund for International Agricultural Research; Chair of Tourism Australia; Chair of the Australian Winemakers Foundation; National Patron of Frontier Services; Patron of various charitable organisations. Some of Mr Fischer’s commercial activities include the following: consultant Deloittes and NCR Teradata; Director of the AA Company and Ausmore; Ambassador to The Australia Made campaign; envoy to Adelaide-Darwin Railway.

M S Swaminathan has been acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of the only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. He has been described by the United Nations Environment Programme as “the Father of Economic Ecology” and by Javier Perez de Cuellar, former Secretary General of the United Nations, as “a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”. A plant geneticist by training, Professor Swaminathan’s advocacy of sustainable agriculture leading to an ever-green revolution makes him an acknowledged world leader in the field of sustainable food security. Professor Swaminathan was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1971, the Albert Einstein World Science Award in 1986, and the first World Food Prize in 1987.

Yanhua Liu holds a DPhil from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a Masters degree, majoring in Geography, from The Netherlands. Since 2001 he has held the position of Vice Minister, Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, and prior to that was Director-General, Department of Rural and Social Development, Ministry of Science and Technology. Dr Liu has been a member of the Science Committee of the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction since 1997, and was a member of the ACIAR Policy Advisory Council from 2000-2003. From 1993 to the present Dr Liu has been the Chinese Coordinator, “Capability building of integrated agricultural development in the Tibetan mountainous district” cooperation project, for the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal). In 1996 Dr Liu received an Award for Outstanding Scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr Liu has contributed to many scientific publications.

Michael Lipton has spent most of his career at Sussex University, starting as one of seven teacher-researchers in its first year, 1961-2. He was Reader, then Professorial Fellow, at the Institute of Development Studies in 1967-94. In the 1970s he headed a comparative analysis of village studies from developing countries, leading to books on migration, labour use, and nutrition. Since 1994 he has been Research Professor at Sussex University’s Poverty Research Unit, which he founded. He is now coordinating an EU study of the impact of land and asset distribution on fertility, migration and environment in drylands. Honours include the Webb Medley Economics Prize, Oxford (1959) and the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize (with Robert Eastwood, 2001).

Frank Rijsberman is the Director General of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka since August 2000. IWMI is an international research center supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). He is a Professor at the IHE in Delft, The Netherlands. Frank Rijsberman earned his PhD in Water Resources Planning & Management from Colorado State University, USA. He has 20 years of experience as a natural resources planner for fresh water resources, coastal zones, soil erosion, and environmental management.

John Passioura has worked as a soil scientist and crop physiologist in CSIRO Plant Industry for many years. His research has mainly concerned the water economy of plants: how they extract water from the soil, how they use that water in fixing carbon and converting it into biomass, and how they convert that biomass into grain. He has addressed these questions from genetic, agronomic, and physiological points of view. Latterly he has been concerned with the flows of water beyond the reach of crop roots that can lead to hydrologic imbalance and other environmental difficulties.

Pedro Sanchez, the 2002 World Food Prize laureate, is Director of Tropical Agriculture and Senior Research Scholar at the Earth Institute of Columbia University in New York City. He also serves as coordinator of the Hunger Task Force of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Project. Sanchez served as Director General of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya from 1991-2001. Sanchez is author of Properties and Management of Soils of the Tropics (rated among the top 10 best-selling books in soil science worldwide), and author of over 200 scientific publications. He has received decorations from the governments of Colombia and Peru and was awarded the International Soil Science Award and the International Service in Agronomy Award.

Jerry L Hatfield is the Laboratory Director of the USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. His research interests focus on the interaction of water, nutrients, carbon, and light in the response of crops to management systems across varying landscapes. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America and recipient of the A.S. Flemming Award for Outstanding Federal service, an ARS Outstanding Scientist of the Year, and received the Distinguished Service Award in Agriculture from Kansas State University. He is the author of over 300 refereed publications and the editor of ten monographs.

Raj Paroda, an accomplished Plant Breeder and Geneticist, had led the Indian National Agricultural Research System as Director General, ICAR and Secretary, DARE, for the Government of India from 1994-2001. He was responsible for the establishment of one of the largest Gene Banks in the world. He has several Honorary DSc degrees including one from University of Ohio, and he is Fellow of Agricultural Academies of India, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Tajikistan and TWAS. Dr Paroda served as Chairman, GFAR and he has been the Executive Secretary of APAARI since 1991. He has served as a member of the Board of IRRI, CABI, ACIAR and also as Chairman of the ICRISAT Board. He was also a member of the CGIAR Finance Committee. He has more than 200 research papers and 15 books and proceedings to his credit. He was the Executive Chairman for the second ICSC held in New Delhi in 1996.

Peter S Carberry is a Senior Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in Australia. He leads the CSIRO team based with the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit (APSRU) in Toowoomba. His disciplinary expertise is in crop physiology, and in the development and application of systems simulation models – he has been a key developer of the APSIM cropping systems model. In more recent times he has led major RDE projects aimed at increasing the participation of farmers and advisers in research. His current interests lie in working closely with proactive farmer groups around Australia to improve the relevance of science and the rigour of on-farm research. Over the past 20 years he has also been involved in development projects in India and Africa, the emphasis of which has been on soil fertility management and farming systems research.

John Snape is Head of the Department of Crop Genetics at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK, with a background of nearly thirty years research on cereal genetics and biotechnology. Following a PhD in quantitative genetics, Professor Snape joined the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge and developed a programme to understand the inheritance of important agronomic traits in wheat. He advises the Home Grown Cereals Authority and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on UK strategy concerned with plant breeding and genetics. He was the recipient of the 2001 Royal Agricultural Society of England Gold Medal for research, which is given for outstanding contributions to UK agricultural research.

John Skerritt has been Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, part of the Australian Government Overseas Development Assistance program, since early 1999. He is responsible for managing the Centre’s Research, Development and Training Programs, overseeing activities within ACIAR’s 12 research and training program areas. The programs develop, monitor and evaluate projects to deliver solutions against identified agricultural and natural resource management problems of developing countries. Dr Skerritt has a University Medal and PhD from the University of Sydney. He was Rotary Foundation Fellow at the University of Michigan, USA, prior to joining CSIRO in 1983. During this time he worked in Sydney and Canberra, advancing to the position of Senior Principal Research Scientist and Program Leader at the Quality Wheat Cooperative Research Centre. Dr Skerritt has won the Edgeworth David Medal of the Royal Society, the Murex Diagnostics Award and the Wasserman Memorial International Biotechnology Research Award in Cereal Science.

Tim Reeves has worked for 37 years in agricultural research, development and extension, mostly focused on sustainable agriculture in Australia and overseas. His professional career includes positions in the Department of Agriculture, Victoria; Foundation Professor of Sustainable Agricultural Production, Adelaide University (1992-95) and Director General, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) based in Mexico (1995-2002). Current activities include: Member, United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger; Chair, NSW Agricultural Advisory Council on Gene Technology; Member, European Commission Expert Group – Evaluation of Framework Projects; Chair, Academic Advisory Board on International Community and Development Studies, and Adjunct Professor, Deakin University; Affiliate Professor, Adelaide University; and Professorial Fellow, Melbourne University; Chair, Board, Joint Centre for Crop Innovation, Melbourne University. Tim Reeves has received several international and national honours. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and in 2003 received the Centenary of Federation Medal. He has published extensively. Tim Reeves is currently Director and Principal of Timothy G. Reeves and Assoc. Pty Ltd, specialising in national and international consulting in agricultural research and development.

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