Opening by prof. dr. ir. Louise O. Fresco
President of Wageningen University & Research
Since 2014 Louise O. Fresco is President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research. She combines a long academic career as professor in Wageningen and Amsterdam, with various visiting professorships, with an extensive involvement in policy and development. She is a member of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences and of four foreign Academies, as well as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Academy of Sciences of South Africa. She served for nearly ten years as Assistant-Director General at the a Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, spent extensive periods in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She is also a member of the Trilateral Commission. In 2014 the EU Commission asked her to chair the Evaluation of the Seventh Framework Program for Research. She received two national prizes – Comenius and Groeneveld – for her work.
Professor Fresco serves as a non-executive director of Unilever, was a member of the supervisory Board of Rabobank and of the Socio-Economic Council, the highest advisory body in the Netherlands. She is a member of the Council of Advisors of the World Food Prize. She is also involved in many philanthropic and cultural foundations, serves as a board member of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, previously a member of the Erasmus Prize Foundation and member of the editorial board of the Dutch literary magazine De Gids.
She has twelve non-scientific books published in Dutch, including three novels. She has a fortnightly column in the leading daily NRC. In 2013, the six-part documentary Frescos Paradise was broadcasted on Dutch TV. The series is based on her book Hamburgers in Paradise. Food in Times of Scarcity and Abundance. In 2013, Louise O. Fresco published a thought provoking op-Ed in Science magazine The GMO Stalemate in Europe. In 2009 she gave a TED talk in Palm Springs and participated in the Nobel Prize Dialogues in Stockholm and Tokyo.