9:30 am
11:00 am

Supporting National Responses to a Global Pandemic

John McDermott, Kundhavi Kadiresan, T.S. Amjath Babu, Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, Godfrey Chingoma, Siboniso Moyo, Ekaterina Krivonos
Published By:
Hosted by:
International Food Policy Research Institute
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As the global leader in agricultural research, CGIAR took action in the earliest days of the pandemic to counter the potentially devastating impact on food security and nutrition worldwide. The CGIAR COVID-19 Hub mobilizes multidisciplinary research and innovation in support of national response efforts.

This seminar brings together researchers and national partners from Bangladesh and Ethiopia, the Hub’s pilot countries, to reflect on progress made and lessons learned. Looking ahead, national partners from Malawi and other countries joining the Hub will also consider key priorities for future COVID-19 research and response, including mitigating threats to food systems that could arise from similar shocks moving ahead.

Focus Region:
Focus Topic:
Health & Diseases
Nutrition / Food Systems
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses

John McDermott

Director, CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), and co-lead, CGIAR COVID-19 Hub

John McDermott joined IFPRI in 2011 to lead the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), led by IFPRI. Previously he was Deputy Director General and Director of Research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi from 2003-2011. John has lived and worked in Africa for 25 years.

As a researcher, John’s research career has focused on public health, animal health and livestock research in developing countries, primarily Africa. He has led projects on zoonotic and emerging diseases in Asia and Africa. John has a strong background in quantitative methods (modeling, study design, statistics).

He has earned a PhD in quantitative epidemiology from the University of Guelph, a Masters Degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from the University of California – Davis, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Guelph. During his research career, John authored or co-authored 200 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and conference papers and has advised over 30 post-graduate students, including 20 PhD graduates. He was a visiting Lecturer at the University of Nairobi and a Professor at the University of Guelph. He has also served as an advisor to FAO, WHO, OIE, and other international agencies, served as a non-executive Director of the Global Alliance for Livestock Vaccines and Medicine (GALVmed), and as a member of the advisory committee of Veterinarians with Borders in Canada.

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Kundhavi Kadiresan

Managing Director, Global Engagement and Innovation

Kundhavi Kadiresan is a development expert with over 25 years of experience in policies and programs. Most recently, she served Assistant Director General for Asia and Pacific for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), where she advocated and supported the FAO’s work on food, agriculture, water, forestry, fisheries, livestock, one health, nutrition and climate change, supporting member states to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet their commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Prior to joining the FAO, she worked in leading international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations, leading multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary teams on macroeconomic policy, governance, agricultural policy, emergency response, and poverty. She has also led change processes at the FAO, and advanced new ways of doing business in the UN system. Her work spans Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, where she led senior-level policy dialogues, and managed multi-million dollar loan portfolios and technical assistance grant programs. She strives for innovation in approaches, processes, products and services for better development impact. To this end, she has established creative partnership models with research institutions, private sector and agribusinesses to link research, policies and program delivery. She holds a PhD in Economics and an MBA in International Business.

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T.S. Amjath Babu

Agricultural Economist – Modeling and Targeting

T.S. Amjath Babu is an agricultural economist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in modeling and targeting.

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Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar

Director, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council

Dr. Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar joined Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) on December 31, 2019 as Executive Chairman (In-charge). Earlier, Dr. Bokhtiar served as the Member Director (Planning and Evaluation) in the same organization. He is also serving as the Director (SAARC Agriculture Centre), BARC Complex, Farmgate, Dhaka

Dr. S M Bokhtiar obtained B.Sc. Ag (Hons.) degree from Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Mymensingh in 1985 and MS (Soil Science) from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Gazipur in 1999. He obtained a Ph.D. from the United Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Ehime University, Japan in 2006. Dr. Bokhtiar also worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Guangxi, China for two years where his research work was on Silicon Nutrition of Sugarcane Crop.

He started his carrier as a Scientific Officer in Farming Systems Research and Development Project (FSR&D) at Bangladesh Sugarcrop Research Institute (BSRI) in 1989. He was promoted as Senior Scientific Officer and also performed as the Head of Soils & Nutrition Division, BSRI.  Subsequently, he was appointed as Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) at Soils Unit of Natural Resources Management Division of BARC in 2012. During his service at BARC Dr. Bokhtiar also served as the Director (Support Service) and Director (Technology Transfer and Monitoring).

Dr. Bokhtiar has 60 published research papers with total citations of 450 (according to Google Scholar) and he is the author of eight books. Dr. Bokhtiar attended several national and international seminars, workshop,s and training programs at home and abroad. In connection with official assignments, he visited several countries like Japan, Thailand, China, Egypt, Philippine, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea, Pakistan, New Zealand, India, USA, Ghana, Ethiopia, Australia, France, Germany, Netherland, Kenya, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Born in a respected Muslim family in 1963 in the village Fakirpara under Chapainawabganj District Dr. Bokhtiar is the father of two sons. Spouse Wahida Akhter is a Joint Secretary level officer recruited under 13th BCS (Admin). His father Mr. Sheikh Lal Mohammad was an ideal school teacher and also a renowned vocalist.


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Godfrey Chingoma

Director of Crop Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Malawi

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Siboniso Moyo

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Director general’s representative in Ethiopia

Siboniso Moyo (Zimbabwe) is the ILRI Director General’s representative in Ethiopia. Between 2015 and 2016, she was program leader of ILRI’s animal science for sustainable productivity program. From 2006−2014, she was ILRI’s regional representative in Southern Africa. She has 25 years’ experience conducting livestock research and development in Zimbabwe and southern Africa. Her fields of specialization include breed performance evaluation, livestock production systems, livestock research and management, and partnership development. She has an MSc in animal husbandry from the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow and a PhD in animal science from the University of Pretoria. Before joining ILRI she was National Director for Livestock Production and Development in Zimbabwe (2002–2005).

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Ekaterina Krivonos

Deputy Director, Programs, at CGIAR

Ekaterina Krivonos is the Deputy Director, Programs, at CGIAR. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland. Ekaterina has 18 years of experience in policy relevant research and advisory in agricultural trade and commodity markets. Previously, she managed the work of the trade policy team in FAO where she led analytical work on trade negotiations and trade policy measures in relation to agricultural development and food security.
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