From November 25 to 27, the new class of young farmers attending the WFO Gymnasium High- Level Capacity Building Programme convened digitally for the first session of the 2020 – 2022 edition of the training program.

Launched in 2017, in close partnership with Bayer, the Gymnasium aims at training young farmers on agriculture policy negotiations, modern farming, advocacy, to prepare them to become future leaders in the agricultural sector.

The overall theme of this first session was «Science, Research and Innovation in the agricultural sector: how to close the gap with the farmers«.

International experts joining the session as teachers included Peer Ederer, Program and Science Director, Global Food and Agribusiness Network and member of WFO Scientific Council; Tony Siantonas, Director, Scaling Positive Agriculture, WBCSD; Serpil Tascioglu, Director Foods Innovation & Transformation, Unilever; Giovanni Frajese, WFO Scientific Advisor and Coordinator of the WFO Scientific Council; Suzanne van Tilburg, Global Head Food & Agri Networks, Rabobank; Natasha Santos, VP Stakeholders Strategy and Affairs and Mark Edge, Director, Seeds & Traits Business Development for LMICs, Bayer AG.

Furthermore, the students worked together and exercised their leadership skills with life coaches, Annalisa Maffey and Giada Boni. The soft skills program will accompany the overall 2020 – 2022 edition to make young farmers able to develop and present their own positions on matters related to the global agricultural agenda with the self-confidence and the communications skills proper of international high-level experts on agriculture.

This first session took place on the margins of “Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good” (23-24 November), the first official event in preparations of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit, co-hosted among others by WFO, and the students had the opportunity to attend as WFO delegates.

We look forward to meeting the new WFO Gymnasium group again soon for a second fruitful training session.