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Speaker Bios - BLUE FOODS AND INDIGENOUS PATHWAYS

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Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health at WorldFish, was named today the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate for her groundbreaking research, critical insights, and landmark innovations in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquatic food systems, including fisheries and aquaculture.   

Thilsted is the first woman of Asian heritage to be awarded the World Food Prize. Often referred to as the "Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture," the World Food Prize is the most prominent global award recognizing an individual who has enhanced human development and confronted global hunger through improving the quality, quantity, and availability of food for all.  

Thilsted was the first to examine the nutritional composition of small native fish species commonly found and consumed in Bangladesh and Cambodia. Her research demonstrated that the high levels of multiple essential micronutrients and fatty acids in these affordable and locally available foods offered life-changing benefits for children's cognitive development in their first 1000 days of life and the nutrition and health of their mothers.  

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Rebecca Short’s research focuses on links between human health and the environment, with a specific focus on the contributions of small-scale fisheries. Short is a post-doctoral researcher on the Blue Food Assessment - preparing key research and policy recommendations for inclusion of Blue Foods in the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. She has a specific focus on understanding and promoting the role of small-scale actors in meeting nutritional and livelihoods needs in blue food systems.

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Tero Mustonen is a professional fisherman in North Karelia, Finland. He works for the award-winning Snowchange Cooperative, which is a non-profit organization based in Finland with members across the Arctic, including the communities of Eastern Sámi, Chukchi, Yukaghir, Sakha, Evenk, Even, Inuit, Inuvialuit, Gwitchin and many more. Mustonen is a well-known scholar of Arctic biodiversity, climate change and indigenous issues.

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Tom Guda is currently serving the fisher folk in different leadership and Management capacities. He is the Regional Chairman for Lake Victoria Beach Management Unit Networks (BMUs) bringing together 1069 BMUs in the three riparian partner states of Republic of Kenya, Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. He is similarly the National Chairman for 454 BMUs in the republic of Kenya bringing together water bodies leadership of Lake Victoria (Kenya), Marine Coast (Kenya) Lake Turkana, Lake Naivasa and Lake Baringo. He sits on the Board of Trustees of Fish Levy Trust Fund (Kenya) whose primary purpose is to provide supplementary funding of activities geared towards management, development and capacity building, awards and urgent mitigation to ensure the sustainability of the fisheries resource.

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Thomas V. Grasso is Vice President for Climate Resilient Food Systems at the Environmental Defense Fund.(EDF)  For EDF he leads programs and initiatives focused on addressing the human and environmental impacts of climate change on global food  systems and the food systems impact on our natural resources and it’s contribution to global climate change. Mr. Grasso has over 25 years’ experience working in the conservation and sustainable development having worked on such programs and initiatives in Europe, Africa, the Americas, southeast Asia and the Pacific. He brings extensive experience in building effective partnerships and governance systems in support of sustainable use of natural resources for the benefits of people and communities that rely on those resources for their livelihoods. He holds a Jurist Doctorate from the Washington College of Law at the American University in Washington DC, B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rochester, and was selected as an emerging Leader for Innovation Across Systems Fellow program of M.I.T. Sloan School of Business 2006-07 along with 20+ colleagues from across the globe.

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Per writes about food and wine in the weekend edition, DI Weekend of the Swedish daily business newspaper Dagens Industri. He co-founded and ran the gastronomic debate forum Skafferiet (The Pantry) in Stockholm and frequently appeared on Swedish public television SVT Gomorron Sverige 2012-2017 as an expert on food and beverages. At the innovation platform Openlab, run by four universities and Stockholm, Per is the host and editor of the podcast Matlaboratoriet made together with podcast producer Soundtelling.

His latest book, Smakens makt (The Power of Taste), is an autobiographical quest for the most captivating taste experiences worldwide. In the book, Per places the sense of taste in different contexts, all of which have great importance for society today. He also discusses the relationship between taste and the art of hospitality, the latest research on the interaction of the senses, the difficult task of eating both climate-friendly and healthy food, and the effects of myocardial infarction in 2014 on Per’s own diet and lifestyle.