JWU Students Seek Solutions to Latin American Food Scarcity


Recently, JWU became one of nine international university partner teams to receive a grant through the "100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund" grant competition. The competition is coordinated by the U.S. Department of State, US Embassies, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. It is also funded by the MetLife Foundation, one of the many sponsors.

JWU students from multi-academic programs will join peers from the Universidad de Congreso (Mendoza, Argentina) and Regis College (Weston, Mass), along with respective faculty and study abroad administrators, to explore sustainable community wellness and nutrition in the Americas. Throughout the month of June, they will travel and study at each partner university. They will begin in Argentina where the US students will join their "UCongreso" colleagues and become immersed in the community, culture, and work with local non-profits on the issues of public health and nutrition for families in the region. In mid-June, the entire team will complete their program in the US, spending five days at Regis College and five days at JWU Providence.

JWU's application was coordinated through JWU Global, Regis College’s Center for Global Connections, and Resource Development at both universities. Lisa McAdam Donegan, director of JWU study abroad, acknowledges that this project joins the strengths of all three universities and grew from a collaboration with David Crisci, director of the Center for Global Connections at Regis College. "Our students will bring the culinary and nutrition focus to the project to enhance the public health and nursing perspective of their peers from Regis," McAdam Donegan says. "The students from UCongreso will share their international relations and resource management focus, and all three universities will share their connection to their local communities. Together, the team will explore the underlying issues of food scarcity and seek solutions that can be applied internationally to a critical issue that crosses borders, economies, politics, and humanity."

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According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, the central problem in Latin America concerning hunger in the region is not a lack of food, but rather the difficulty the poorest inhabitants face in accessing that food.

“MetLife Foundation recognizes the vital role study abroad programs play in helping students enhance technical skills while developing valuable cross-cultural skills and experience,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We are pleased to support partnerships between higher education institutions across the Americas and extend the benefits of study abroad to more students.”