JFW Week 2016
Standing before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 600 people in Portland on March 24, JFW speaker Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda of Zimbabwe used words of wisdom from her father as the opening line to the fifth annual Justice for Women Lecture.
“Every breath you take should be an opportunity to learn, and an opportunity to teach,” she said.
The phrase was the perfect summary of her weeklong trip to Maine. Dr. Sibanda, a global leader in the sustainable farming movement and the fight to end hunger and food insecurity, visited Maine from March 21-25 as the lecturer for the Justice for Women Lecture Series, hosted by the University of Maine School of Law.
An acclaimedscientist, farmer, and activist, Dr. Sibanda spoke to diverse audiences throughout the week, including students from several Maine high schools, colleges, and postgraduate institutions. She spoke about poverty, malnutrition, climate change, and strategies to combat the root causes of food insecurity. On the flip side, Dr. Sibanda spent much of her week learning from local farmers, food bank staff members, policymakers and others about approaches to those same problems in Maine. She said she looked forward to sharing those lessons upon her return to Africa.
Dr. Sibanda has been CEO and head of mission of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) since 2004. In that role, she coordinates policy research and advocacy programs across 17 countries in Africa, focused on food security, climate change, and advances in agriculture.
“We have so much more in common than I thought,” Dr. Sibanda said. “I’ve learned a lot and I’ve been touched by the community.”
Among the highlights of Dr. Sibanda’s visit to Maine:
● She visited with students at Deering High School in Portland, and received a key to the city from Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling.
● She visited Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, and St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston, for tours and discussions about food insecurity and agriculture. She also joined the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn as it launched the state’s first Community Food Charter.
● She spoke to Bates College students, faculty, and members of the community, on the importance of nutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.
● She delivered the fifth annual Justice for Women Lecture, presented by Maine Law at the Abromson Community Education Center in Portland, to a sold-out crowd.
She participated in a policy discussion about agriculture, economic development, and food insecurity. The event was held at Pierce Atwood in Portland and moderated by Dean Danielle Conway of Maine Law. Participants included U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and many others including local farmers.
Engaging with Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) staff and students from high schools and colleges in Maine who are participating in study abroad programs, including several in Botswana
Meetings with the World Affairs Council of Maine and the International Law Society at the Maine School of Law
Informal discussions with Legislative Leaders, the Women’s Law Association and Maine School of Law students
Meetings with the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth And Reconciliation Commission
Open discussions with current and past Mitchell Institute Scholars
Collaborating with Bates College to bring transformational speakers to the people of Maine
Partnering with Deering High School in support of their Learning Without Borders program
Inspiring Portland High School global studies students with intimate conversations and Q&A sessions
Book signing and reading at Longfellow Books