Heuermann Speaker to Focus on Water, Food Security in Child Development

March 28, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. — Good nutrition and good water in the first 1,000 days of a child's life are critical to body and brain development. Lack of either can lead to stunting and diminished brain capacity, significantly affecting individuals and the countries in which they live.

That – and more – are topics for "The Role of Water and Food Security in Early Childhood Survival and Development:  A Global Perspective,"  a Heuermann Lecture at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 in the Great Plains Room of the Nebraska East Union on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus.

A 2:30 p.m. reception in the union atrium precedes the free lecture.

This lecture is a panel presentation with Dr. Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Joan Lombardi, former deputy assistant secretary and inter-departmental liaison, early childhood education, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Nurper Ulkuer, former head of the Early Childhood Development Unit and senior adviser for early childhood development at UNICEF.

Elias leads the foundation's efforts in integrated and innovative delivery to see solutions and products reach the hands of people in developing countries who need them most. He oversees the foundation's global development portfolio in agricultural development; family planning; financial services for the poor; maternal, newborn and child health; polio; vaccine delivery; and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Elias's professional background is in health and medicine, and he holds an M.D. and an honorary doctor of science degree from Creighton University.  He serves on several advisory boards, including those for the Nike Foundation and the Duke Global Health Institute. 

Lombardi is the senior adviser to the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Bernard van Leer Foundation on global child development strategies.  She also directs Early Opportunities LLC, focusing on innovation, policy and philanthropy.

Lombardi has served as the deputy assistant secretary for policy and external affairs in administration for children and families at USDHHS, and as the first commissioner of the Child Care Bureau. The founding chair of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance (now the Alliance for Early Success) and the founder of Global Leaders for Young Children, she currently serves on the board of trustees for Save the Children and the board of directors for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.

Ulkuer started her career with UNICEF in Turkey in 1989.  She moved to UNICEF headquarters in New York in late 2004 and traveled the world assisting UNICEF regional and country offices in designing early childhood policies, programs and advocacy materials, as well as conducting training for UNICEF staff and partners at country, regional and global levels. 

Ulkuer retired in 2012 as head of the Early Childhood Development Unit and as a senior adviser for early childhood development at UNICEF.

Before joining UNICEF, she was an associate professor and chair of child development at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, where she lives today.

Panel moderators are Marjorie Kostelnik, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at UNL, and Helen Raikes, Willa Cather professor in the UNL Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies.

"We have a tremendous panel of experts set to share knowledge and insights on the very real costs of inadequate food and water in the first three years of a child's life, and what that means not just for individuals, but for countries and the world's future," said Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska vice president for agriculture and natural resources, and Harlan vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, home of the Heuermann Lectures at UNL.  "This last lecture in our 2013-2014 Heuermann Lecture season will provide much food for thought for all attending."

Heuermann (pronounced Hugh-er-man) Lectures in IANR focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.

The lectures are made possible through a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

Lectures stream live at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu, and are archived at that site shortly after the lecture.  They're also broadcast on NET2 World at a date following the lecture.

Helen Raikes, Ph.D.
Willa Cather Professor
Child, Youth and Family Studies

Judy Nelson
Communications Specialist

Dan Moser
IANR News Service