World Food Prize Director to Give Symposium Address

Bian Li, the Director of Planning for the World Food Prize Foundation, will deliver the keynote speech at Simpson College’s 2012 Undergraduate Symposium.

Li will speak at 9 a.m. April 19 in Lekberg Hall to kick off a full day of Symposium activities designed to honor excellence in research, scholarship and creativity.

This year will mark the third annual Undergraduate Symposium. This is a showcase of student excellence displayed through the presentation of papers, posters, performances and/or panel discussions.

Li joined The World Food Prize Foundation in 2011. Her primary responsibilities including conceiving, planning and coordinating the World Food Prize’s annual events, including the annual Laureate Announcement Ceremony at the State Department in D.C., the Borlaug Dialogue and the Iowa Hunger Summit. She also works closely with Ambassador Quinn and the Secretariat in the Laureate nomination and selection process and performs research, policy analysis, due diligence, outreach and speaking engagements. She is also heavily involved in the foundation’s long-term planning, IT development and strategic initiatives and partnerships.

Li is a recipient of the 2001 World Food Prize John Crystal Award for her research as a Borlaug-Ruan intern at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Mbita Point, Kenya. She subsequently returned to Kenya during her university studies to continue her research on the impact of women’s microcredit cooperatives in fighting rural poverty.

Prior to joining the foundation staff, Li was an investment banker specializing in middle market mergers and acquisitions in Chicago and Hong Kong, where she oversaw US-China strategic partnerships and served as China Marketing Manager and transaction liaison for Asia-Pacific cross-border deals. Most recently, she served as editor-in-chief of a fashion and lifestyle magazine for women entrepreneurs.

Li has also worked with community-based organizations and women’s agricultural cooperatives in rural Ghana. She has taught English, Mandarin and Spanish and also served as a volunteer English teacher to Congolese refugees. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Li is an Oxfam Sister on the Planet Ambassador and a member of the advisory committee for Plant a Dream Foundation. She spoke on food security issues at the 2011 TEDx Des Moines conference.

Li graduated from the University of Iowa as a Presidential Scholar with a B.A. in International Studies and a B.B.A in Economics and Finance. She was also an Undergraduate Writing Fellow of the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop program and a fellow in the John Hawkinson Honors Finance Program.