American University of Beirut

New York Beirut Briefing #1 - Food Security Threats to a Turbulent Region

According to Assistant Professor of Food Security Martin Keulertz, food security in the Arab World is a make-it or break-it” situation. Keulertz, along with FAFS Dean Rabih Mohtar, and Food Security Program Director Rachel Bahn discussed food security in the region as it relates to demography, food production, water scarcity, and the water-energy-food nexus.

A driving factor is population development, which projects that the Arab Region will grow to over a billion people by the end of the century. The year 2020 will mark the break-even point when there will be a similar number of people in the MENA region as in Europe, followed by the Arab Region greatly eclipsing Europe over the following eighty years. Since today almost 80% of food in the Arab World is imported, the question of how to feed the coming expanded population growth is critical. Water scarcity is key to food security. Rural areas will be most affected as the population increases, spurring more urbanization as people move to cities in search of safety.  

Read a full summary of the discussion here. Watch the entire discussion here.

Video Highlights of the Discussion


  • Dr. Martin Keulertz, Assistant Professor of Food Security at AUB

  • Dr. Rabih Mohtar, Dean of the FAFS at AUB

  • Rachel Bahn, Food Security Program Director at AUB

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