MaREI’s Hannah Daly meets Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

MaREI’s Professor Hannah Daly from University College Cork met the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins after he was awarded the ‘Agricola Medal’ of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at a ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin.

The medal, which bears the Latin name for farmer, is conferred upon international figures who have undertaken outstanding efforts in advancing the cause of global food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition. President Higgins is the first Irish recipient of the medal.

It is customary that the recipient of the medal provides their own choice of inscription text for the medal. The President chose for his inscription to read: ‘Food Security as part of Universal Basic Services and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – the seeds of world peace’.

At the ceremony, President Higgins delivered an acceptance address entitled ‘Achieving Food Security from Below’. Building on addresses delivered by the President last year at the second Dakar Summit on food sovereignty and resilience in Senegal and at the World Food Forum in Rome, today’s address advocated for the use of tools and analysis to enable those in food insecure countries to examine the real experiences on the ground and to empower them with the information necessary to build their own future.

The President has consistently raised the importance of food security, and the links between it and the interlocking global crises of global poverty, migration, debt and climate change in his meetings with global leaders. This included at his meetings over the last year with US President Joe Biden, His Holiness Pope Francis, and the Premier of the People’s Republic of China Li Qiang among others. It is also a topic which the President has repeatedly raised at the annual meetings of the Arraiolos Group of non-executive European Presidents.