Dies Natalis 2013 - Food for all

The 95th Dies Natalis celebrations were entirely dedicated to the still current issues of food security, and took place on Friday 15 March 2013. Among the speakers were FAO Director-General José Graziano Da Silva, University of Amsterdam Professor Louise Fresco and Wageningen University Rector Magnificus Martin Kropff.

From the outset in 1918, Wageningen University’s main focus has been ensuring food security. Wageningen UR developed a successful formula that blends science, education, entrepreneurship and policy. This Wageningen approach now attracts global attention and has been emulated by many.

Due to the expected increase of the world population in 2050 and the limited availability of resources for sustainable food production, it is of the utmost importance to join forces on a global scale and keep the issue of sustainable nutrition security high on the international agenda.


Martin Kropff, Rector Magnificus Wageningen University


Prof. Martin Kropff is Rector Magnificus of Wageningen University and Vice-president of Wageningen University and Research Centre. He took his masters in biology at Utrecht University and his PhD at Wageningen University, both cum laude.

After his PhD, he went to the Philippines to lead the international programme on systems analysis and simulation of the International Rice Research Institute for a period of four years.

He returned to Wageningen University to become professor in, what now is called, the chair group of Crop and Weed Ecology.

From 1998 to 2002 he was scientific director of the C.T. de Wit graduate school.

In 2000 he was asked to become general director of the Plant Sciences Group of Wageningen UR, and in 2005 he joined the Executive Board.

José Graziano Da Silva, FAO Director General

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Dr. Graziano, 61 years old, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy and Master’s Degree in Rural Economics and Sociology from the University of São Paulo (USP) and his PhD in Economic Sciences from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). In addition, he has two post-Doctorate degrees in Latin American Studies (University College of London) and Environmental Studies (University of California, Santa Cruz).

Since 2006, he serves as FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean and Assistant Director-General.

In 2006, José Graziano da Silva became FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean and Assistant Director-General. In this position, Dr. Graziano da Silva has sought to strengthen family farming and rural development as a path to enhance food security. Also important has been his key role in fostering the “Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative”, which has made the region the first one in the world to commit itself to eradicate hunger by 2025.

As a professor, Dr. Graziano da Silva has been recognised for his valuable contribution to the training and preparation of a new generation of young Latin American professionals dedicated to the issue of rural development and food security.

He is the author of important publications on rural development, food security, and agrarian economics. He has 25 published books, including 'O que é a questão agrária' (“What is the Agrarian Question?”) and 'De boias frias a empregados rurais' (“From Bóias Frias to Rural Workers”).

Louise Fresco, professor at the University of Amsterdam


Louise O. Fresco's exciting career includes more ten years of field work in tropical countries, travel to over 80 countries, a PhD cum laude in tropical agronomy (Wageningen) and visiting professorships at Uppsala, Louvain and Stanford. She was the Assistant DG, Agriculture Department for FAO of the UN.

Fresco has a strong commitment to international development, agriculture and food; this is a permanent theme of her life. She has also published extensively, including three novels.

Currently, she works as a university professor in Amsterdam, writes a syndicated newspaper column, is an adviser to the Dutch government on socio-economic policy, science and sustainability. She also serves as a non-executive director of Unilever and on the supervisory board of Rabobank. She is also a member of the Board of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, a member of the Trilateral Commission, of the Board of the UNU and a member on the Council of Advisors of the World Food Prize. And in May 2010 she became a member of the independent review committee of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the InterAcademy Council. Besides that, she is also involved in a large number of cultural and social activities. Fresco also appears regularly in the media and spoke at TED 2009.