FAMU To Host EnergyWaterFoodNexus International Summit

April 11, 2022
Undersecretary Homer Wilkes
FAMU To Host EnergyWaterFoodNexus International Summit

Homer Wilkes, undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will address the Summit.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) will host more than 300 participants for the EnergyWaterFoodNexus International Summit, a gathering that will address the threat posed by climate change.

Headlining the opening session 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Lawson Multipurpose Center will be Homer Wilkes, Ph.D., undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The first African American to serve in the role, Wilkes has worked with the USDA for more than 41 years, heavily contributing to engineering, natural resource, and watershed projects, as well as forestry and working lands.

The Jackson State University alumnus is credited for his leadership as director of the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Division, where he was responsible for the restoration of the coastal ecosystem after the 2010 BP oil spill.

Wilkes, a nationally recognized conservationist, will be one of the first recipients of the Nexus International Thought Leader Award. The other honorees, Eunice Heath, Sustainability director DOW Inc., Dimitri Corpakis, Ph.D., senior European expert on innovation, and former head of unit, Research & Innovation, European Commission, and Peder Maarbjerg, assistant director for External Coordination, Advance Projects Research Agency-Energy, will participate in a plenary session.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture is committed to ensuring our natural resources are maintained for future generations,” Wilkes said. “FAMU’s School of Environment is exactly the type of partner we need, and I am pleased to be a part of this important conversation.”

The theme of this year’s gathering is “Climate Change and the Environment: An Existential Threat to Life on Earth and our Collective Global Response.” Several hundred participants are expected to converge on the Tallahassee campus for the event than runs through Wednesday.

President RobinsonPresident Robinson

“Access to safe water, procurement of sustainable energy and food security are vexing global issues, and the search for viable solutions remains a relevant challenge even as we make progress toward global climate change,” said Victor Ibeanusi, Ph.D., EnergyWaterFoodNexus founder and dean of FAMU’s School of the Environment. 

The Summit is the second major environmental conference to convene at FAMU in successive weeks. From April 6-8, FAMU hosted the Tenth Biennial National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) Education and Science Forum, which attracted undergraduate and graduate students from across the country, Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands.

President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., who played host to the NOAA forum in his role as director for the NOAA Center Coastal and Marine Ecosystems, said FAMU seeks to be a leader in researching environmental issues and preparing the next generation of environmental scientists.

“We are honored to host this international summit that will convene thought leaders addressing climate change, one of the most pressing issues of our time. FAMU is the center of important research on the environment,” Robinson said. “We look forward to welcoming our key partners, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and DOW Inc., along with summit attendees for a productive and informative event.”