Global Food Opportunities Seminar

The Global Food Opportunities Seminar (GFOS)is a seminar focused on bringing diverse intellectual content through a global context. The intention of these seminars is to bring an expert in to a department to work with faculty and students. While on campus, these experts give a 45 to 50 minute seminar on an international topic or issue of importance, followed by a question and answer session. Typically, one to two students present with the invited guest. These students will highlight their international experience in five minutes. Students are invited based on the lecture topic, and also participate in the Q&A session.

For more information regarding the GFOS Seminar, please contact Dr. Lisa Wood at

Upcoming Seminar(s)

Roland VerheDr. Roland Verhe- March 6, 11:00 am in POSC A211

Verhe obtained the degree of MSc in Chemical and Food Engineering in 1967 and his PhD on Agricultural Sciences – option Organic Chemistry in 1972 both at The State University of Ghent Belgium.

In 1972 he was appointed assistant professor followed by associated professor and full professor in 1983 at Ghent University , Faculty of Agricultural sciences , Department of Organic Chemistry.  From 2000-2009, he was head of Department of Organic Chemistry in the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University.  He retired in 2010 as Professor Emeritus.  His research activities were situated in the field of organic synthesis of natural products and agrochemicals, organic analysis, renewable resources, production of biofuels, food safety, food engineering, chemistry and technology of lipids.  He published 300 scientific papers (more than 4000 citations) and nine books and chapters in book.

From 1988 he was very active in European Educational Programmes such as Erasmus and Socrates (in the EU countries), Tempus (East Europe and former Sovjet Union States and Mongolia) , Alpha projects (Central and South America), countries around the Mediterranean ( Tunesia, Egypt and Syria) and the Atlantis Project (EU-US).  These activities were concentrated on student exchange, staff mobility, curriculum development (especially in Safety in the Agro Food Chain , Renewable Resources and organization of Intensive Programmes on numerous subjects.  In the framework of these programmes more than 50 universities and 4000 students were involved).

During his career he obtained several awards .  He was awarded the Degree of Honorary Doctor at The University of Technology Kaunas Lithouania, The University of Latvia Riga, The Mongolian University of Science and Technology Ulan Bator, Corvinus University Budapest Hungary, The Veterinary and Agricultural University Cluj-Napoca Romania, The Technical University of Moldavia Chisinau Moldavia.  He is Honorary Professor at the Azerbaijan International University Baku, The University of Bitola Macedonia and The Academy of Agricultural Science Russia Moscow.


Previous Global Food Opportunities Seminars

Thula Sizwe Dlamini

Dr. Thula Sizwe Dlamini is the Executive Director of the Swaziland Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SEPARC) in Mbabane, Swaziland. He received a B.Sc. degree in agricultural economics from The University of Swaziland and Honours degree in agricultural economics (Cum Laude) from the University of Fort Hare (Eastern Cape Province, South Africa) focusing his research on foreign direct investment in the agriculture sector. He earned his PhD in economics from Rhodes University. Thula’s PhD research focused on the economic implications of monotonous sheep farming in Graaff-Reinert, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. While at Rhodes, Thula served as an assistant lecturer and tutor coordinator. Prior to joining SEPARC, Thula worked as an agricultural economist at the Agricultural Research Council, in Pretoria, South Africa where he conducted research on agricultural science and technology policy. Thula is a recipient of the Cochrane Fellowship (Michigan State University), the South African Agricultural Economics Professional Fellowship (Cornell University) and was, in 2015, awarded Young Researcher of the Year Award at the Agricultural Research Council, in Pretoria, South Africa. Dr Dlamini has published in numerous international journals.

Watch Dr. Dlamini's Seminar 

Paolo Sambo - 

Dr. Paolo Sambo teaches at the University of Padova in Italy as a Professor of Vegetable and Ornamental Production. He received his doctorate in Environmental Agronomy and currently serves as Director of the undergraduate and graduate programs in Agricultural Science and Technology. His research focus is sustainable and organic vegetable production. Dr. Sambo holds many professional memberships, including ISHS, ASHS, and serving on the Steering Committee of the Italian Society of Horticulture Science. In addition to teaching, he is currently in the process of developing a student exchange program with Padova and the University of Arkansas. 

Watch Dr. Sambo's Seminar 

Martin Gummert - 

Mr. Gummert received his diploma in agricultural engineering from Hohenheim University, in Germany in 1991. Since that time, he has worked as an apprentice, research assistant, researcher, project coordinator, team leader, and a consultant with various organizations. Currently, Mr. Gummert serves as a Senior Scientist 2 in postharvest development and mechanization at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which is located in the Philippines. He began working for IRRI from 1993 to 1997 as a coordinator for the project “Postharvest Technologies for Rice in the Humid Tropics.”  In November 2003 Mr. Gummert began as an International Research Fellow in Postharvest Development. Mr. Gummert has 12 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 4 book chapters, and 21 published conference presentations. He holds many professional memberships including the Asian Association of Agricultural Engineers. In 2010, Mr. Gummert received a medal “For the Cause of Agricultural and Rural Development, Vietnam” by the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Watch Dr. Gummert's Seminar

Elizabeth Mitcham - 

Dr. Elizabeth Mitcham is director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab (, a USAID-funded program managed by the University of California, Davis, that advances fruit and vegetable research to support the needs of smallholder farmers in developing countries. As part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, the program has collaborated with more than 18 U.S. universities and 200 organizations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia with projects spanning the horticultural value chain. Mitcham is also a postharvest physiologist on the faculty of the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences and has helped train professionals from more than 40 countries as one of the leaders of the Postharvest Technology Center. 

Watch Dr. Mitcham's Seminar