Food Security

The Global Food Security Project at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and its Centers on the Public Service was established in August 2013 to address the critical problem of hunger and malnutrition by enhancing the University’s research agenda in the area of global food security and international food assistance.  Malnutrition is one of the most critical problems confronting the global community. Over 800 million people are currently chronically malnourished causing severe health, nutrition, economic development, governance, conflict, and national security problems. Despite numerous efforts, its elimination remains elusive. This project is a cross-cutting interdisciplinary initiative designed to address the many public policy dimensions of global food security.

Key Objectives

  • Increase consciousness and visibility of food security issues within the University, the wider academic community, and the Washington D.C. area;
  • Develop cross-cutting food security research projects involving multiple University departments and schools designed to contribute constructive recommendations to the entire global food security community (donor and host governments, private sector, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGO), academic institutions, and foundations.
  • Collaborate with other institutions in the Washington, DC area, including universities, foundations, government agencies, international organizations, the private sector, and the NGO community on a number of critical global food security issues;
  • Convene global food security conferences and workshops designed to address the multitude of major global food security problems and issues affecting policy development and implementation; and
  • Sponsor the development of food security curricula and related educational opportunities within the University including undergraduate and graduate classes on a variety of critical issues affecting global food security such as climate change, urbanization, agricultural production, genetically modified food, inadequate infrastructure, post-harvest losses, and food waste.

Major Initiatives

Sponsorship of annual interdisciplinary Global Food Security and Health Summits since 2014 involving U.S. Government, NGO, and International organization officials. GMU’s November 2016 Global Food Security and Health Summit focused on the problems, progress, and challenges confronting the global food security community. Over 20 expert speakers and 100 students, educators, and practitioners attended the day long-conference.

  1. Publication of peer-reviewed research in World Medical & Health Policy, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell, including a special issue on Global Food Security and Health, September 2015.
  2. Presentation of Global Food Security Issues in various courses throughout the university, including Food and Nutrition graduate course and University Scholars Program exercise, and at events such as George Mason University’s Ninth Annual Conference on Global Governance.
  3. Research project on food security and nutrition in the Seme sub-county of the Kisumu Province of Kenya addressing local and international policy initiatives, and production and consumption of indigenous foods.
  4. The U.S. Food Aid Shipping Report, completed in 2015, funded by external foundation grants, and subsequent related briefings on findings to key food aid stakeholders including the U.S. Government Executive Branch, Congressional Committees, NGO’s, and private sector officials in the policy debate over U.S. food aid reform. The report was recently sited by Foreign Affairs Magazine for its scholarly analysis.
  5. Participation in multiple Washington, D.C. area food security working groups involving government, NGO’s, universities, foundations, the private sector, and international organizations.
  6. Exploratory discussions with officials of the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh in initiating a research study on the implementation of food security programs in Bangladesh.
  7. Preliminary research on the development, implementation, and evaluation of Food Security Private-Public Partnerships

Ongoing Capacity 

The Project Team, led by Research Fellow Phil Thomas, has the expertise, experience, and research capacity to make a contribution to implementation of recent global food security legislation, and inform the process of transition to a new administration. The University’s expertise and resources in public policy, conflict resolution, nutrition, and health provide a unique interdisciplinary capacity to undertake rigorous research and analysis of key global food security issues. The University also recently achieved Tier I research accreditation by the Carnegie Foundation based on continuous outstanding performance as a research institution.


Centers on the Public Service Skip to Content

Tonya T. Neaves

Federal Management Leadership Center Director

Dr. Sheldon Edner

State and Local Government Center Director

Frank Shafroth

Nonprofit Management Center Director

Dr. Alan Abramson 703-993-8189