McDonnell Scholar Blog: Starting Small, Thinking Globally

Image: Dorothy Joseph

Agriculture, food and water challenges will be among the topics addressed during the McDonnell International Scholars Academy 7th International Symposium, held October 11-14 in Beijing and co-hosted by Tsinghua University.

As the cool autumn breeze pushes the hot summer heat in St. Louis, many of us at Washington University look forward to joining the 7thInternational Symposium held at Beijing, Tsinghua University. Committed to exploring ways of addressing and exploring the world’s most critical problems, this year’s symposium will focus on three twenty-first century global issues:

  • Agriculture, Food and Water
  • Energy and Environment
  • Public Health and Aging.
Heesoo Cho_headshot

Blog by Heesoo Cho, McDonnell Scholar from The Graduate School: History (PhD)

Among the three topics, I especially look forward to the discussions on agriculture, food and water, because they form the basis of all human activities; survival. In an era of global surplus (in comparison to regional deficiency) where people aspire for well-being and take being as a given, we easily forget that it is only within a couple of decades that humanity as a whole have become free from the struggle of survival. Developments in mass production and efficient distribution have elevated the quality of life for many in ways unimaginable in the past. The majority of the world population still struggle with subsistence and poverty because of unequal distribution of resources not necessarily of its shortages.

I hope the panels on “Agriculture, Food and Water” remind us once again of the importance of understanding the fundamental layers in human activity with productive discussions on how these issues shape our everyday lives and pose global challenges that require collective resolutions.

As future global leaders who have the potential to not only think of but also act upon change, I hope this year’s Symposium at Beijing provides an opportunity for all participants to reflect on their possible contributions to the community, society, country, and world they live in.