The A. Jean de Grandpré Distinguished Speaker Series is named in honour of McGill’s Chancellor Emeritus. M. de Grandpré, who served as Chancellor from 1984-1991, was a long-standing member of the McGill Board of Governors and one of Canada’s pre-eminent and most distinguished business leaders. An astute and visionary administrator, he brought these skills, together with his wisdom, clarity of thought, and persuasive logic, to the highest levels of leadership at McGill University.
Dean and Associate Vice-Principal (Macdonald)
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University
Anja Geitmann is Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Professor in the Department of Plant Science. She also holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Biomechanics of Plant Development. She leads an interdisciplinary team of cell biologists and mechanical engineers. Her research program focuses on the biomechanical principles underlying plant development and reproduction. Using powerful microscopical techniques and micromanipulation, her team investigates how sperm cells are delivered in plants during fertilization, how plant cells grow and divide, and how intracellular transport processes govern morphogenetic features. The ultimate goal of this research is to understand how genetic composition or a plant translates to its physical phenotype.
Dr. Geitmann is actively involved in the executive committees of numerous learned societies. She currently serves as President of the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists and as Past‐President of the Microscopical Society of Canada. She is the Vice-President of the International Association of Plant Sexual Reproduction Research. She serves on the editorial boards of multiple scientiﬁc journals including Plant Physiology. She has served on the organizing committees of numerous international meetings including Plant Biology 2010, Plant Biology 2014, M&M 2014 and Botany 2015. She was the organizer of the ﬁrst Alumni Meeting of the Human Frontier Science Program, the International BIRS Workshop on 'Multiscale Modeling of Cell Wall Mechanics and Growth in Walled Cells' and a biannual series of Advanced Workshops on Fluorescence Microscopy Techniques. The quality of her teaching merited her a Teaching Award from the Faculté des Arts et des Science de l'Université de Montréal in 2012.
Associate Director (Africa Outreach)/Senior Outreach Advisor, Office of the Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning, McGill University
Dr. Nii Addy is Associate Director (Africa Outreach)/Senior Outreach Advisor in the office of the Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning (DPSLL) at McGill University. In this role, he develops, manages, and assesses cross-sector partnerships, training and applied research spanning academia, business, government, and civil society, supporting McGill MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Scholars’ transitions from academic studies to entrepreneurship and employment for impact in Africa. Dr. Addy also teaches at the Max Bell School of Public Policy and in the African Studies Program. He is an Associate Member of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (FAES) and the School of Continuing Studies (SCS).
Dr. Addy has been working at McGill since 2013, including previously as Assistant Professor (Research) at the McGill Center for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) in the Desautels Faculty of Management, and the Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID). His interdisciplinary work focuses on institutional change in multi-stakeholder partnerships across societal sectors (businesses, public agencies, and civil society organizations) and industrial sectors (education, agriculture, nutrition, health). He combines qualitative and quantitative approaches, with the goal of informing how diverse stakeholders can work together effectively. He applies research in developing knowledge sharing tools, and in training leaders from various sectors as they engage in partnership processes for sustainable development, in both Anglophone and Francophone contexts. His current projects include cross-sector partnerships promoting entrepreneurship for improvements in agri-food, nutrition and health in North America and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). He has been a researcher and consultant on projects for a number of organizations, including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, the Hewlett Foundation, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and ICF International. He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, where he specialized in Organization Studies and International Comparative Education. He has a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College, and a Master in Public Affairs (MPA) from Princeton University.
Director, Arrell Food Institute, University of Guelph
Evan Fraser, Director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, started thinking about agriculture and food systems while spending summers working on his grandfather’s farm in Niagara. He quickly learned, however, that his grandmother’s success as a stockbroker was paying more of his wages than the money brought in by the u-pick strawberries and sweet corn. It was perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that he decided it was easier to write and talk about farming than actually try to make a living selling fruits and vegetables. He passed on inheriting the family farm, opting instead for grad school. Today, Evan works with large multi-disciplinary teams on developing solutions to help feed the world’s growing population while not destroying the ecosystems on which we depend for life. As a researcher, Evan is a co-author on over 100 academic papers and book chapters, played a leadership role in teams that have raised over $100M in research funding, and mentored close to 50 graduate students.
Between 2006-18 he co-convened an ad hoc working group made up of producer groups, the food industry, philanthropy and civil society to propose that the Federal Government of Canada should create a National Food Policy Advisory Council. The creation of this council was announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada in the summer of 2019. He is a full professor of Geography at the University of Guelph and helps lead the Food from Thought initiative, which is a $76.6 million research program based at the University of Guelph that explores how to use big data to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint. Today, Evan is the director of Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, which was established by a $20 million-dollar gift from the Arrell Family Foundation. In this capacity, he co-chairs the Arrell Food Summit, and manages the Arrell Food Scholarship program as well as the Arrell Food Innovation Awards that deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to groups that have made tremendous impacts on global food systems.
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University
Aurélie Harou is an assistant professor in Agricultural Economics in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University. She obtained a BSc from the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, in Environmental Science and Geography and later an MSc from the University of California at Davis in Agricultural and Resource Economics. She worked for several years first for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency on the National Flood Insurance Program and later as a consultant for an economics litigation company in Berkeley, California. After living in D.R. Congo for a year doing humanitarian work for Action Against Hunger, she pursued a PhD in Applied Economics at Cornell University. She then joined the Agriculture and Food Security group at Columbia University as an Earth Institute post-doctoral fellow. Her research on global food security has brought her to work in many countries including Guatemala, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Philippines and Nepal where she has partnered with various local and international organizations to conduct her work, including the World Food Program, Catholic Relief Services, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Bank.
Prof. Harou’s research focusses on understanding smallholder farmer behavior as it relates to the adoption of yield-enhancing agricultural technologies. She also examines how economic, political, climatic and health shocks affect human welfare, nutrition and household consumption and production decisions. Given the COVID outbreak, she is currently studying its effect on farmers’ livelihoods in rural communities in Tanzania. Given the need to conduct phone surveys and digital interventions as opposed to in-person interviews due to the pandemic, her team is also looking at the biases presented by this shift.