AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture

In 2008, the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF) made a gift to AAAS to endow a Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at AAAS in honor of Professor Riley's legacy as a "whole picture" person with a vision for enhancing agriculture through scientific knowledge.

Working in collaboration with the RMF and the World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF) — an organization whose fundamental goal is to support efforts toward an adequate supply and availability of nutritious food for the burgeoning world population in the 21st century —the AAAS Riley Lecture is an important opportunity to explore the environmental and societal challenges facing our planet through the lens of agricultural innovation and its applications in a global context.

"…to promote a broader and more complete understanding of agriculture as the most basic human endeavor and... to enhance agriculture through increased scientific knowledge."

Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation
Charles Valentine Riley Examining an Insect. Undated | Charles Valentine Riley Collection. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland.


The Lecture is sponsored by the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation; the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, Forest Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture; and Mars Incorporated.

2018 Lecture Information:

Does Agriculture have a Parallel Science Problem?

Featuring Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology, University of California, Davis.

Immediately following the lecture, Dr. Van Eenennaam will join a panel discussion with noted leaders from the international research community, agribusiness, and other stakeholders including Dr. Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University. The discussion will be led by Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation.

Additional panelists will be added as they are confirmed.

Lecture Details:
June 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm, AAAS Auditorium, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Speaker Bios:

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis. Her publicly-funded research and outreach program focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her current research projects include the development of genomic approaches to select for cattle that are less susceptible to disease and the development of genome editing approaches for livestock. She serves as the USDA NRSP-8 Cattle Genome Coordinator, and is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Study Committee for “Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agricultural Research”. She has given over 525 invited presentations to audiences globally, and uses a variety of media to inform general public audiences about science and technology. She frequently provides a credentialed voice on controversial scientific topics and has appeared on national media including The Dr Oz Show, NPR, Science Friday, and the Intelligence Squared debate series. Recently she appeared in the IFT-funded documentary Food Evolution. A passionate advocate of science, Dr. Van Eenennaam was the recipient of the 2014 Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) Borlaug Communication Award, and in 2017 was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Rattan Lal is a Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, The Ohio State University, and an Adjunct Professor of University of Iceland. He received B.S. from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; M.S. from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. He served as Sr. Research Fellow with the University of Sydney, Australia (1968-69), Soil Physicist at IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria (1970-87), and Professor of Soil Science at OSU (1987-to date). He has authored/co-authored 868 refereed journal articles and 506 book chapters, has written 20 and edited/co-edited 69 books. He is included in the Thomson Reuters list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds (2014, 2015), and among the most cited scientists (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017). He received the Honoris Causa degree from five universities in Europe and Asia, and is fellow of the five professional societies. Dr. Lal mentored 110 graduate students and 169 visiting scholars from around the world. He was President of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (1987-1990), International Soil and Tillage Research Organization (1988-1991), Soil Science Society of America (2006-2008) and is the current President of the International Union of Soil Sciences (2017-2018).

Dr. Kenneth M. Quinn, former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, assumed the leadership of the World Food Prize Foundation on January 1, 2000, following his retirement from the State Department after a 32 year career in the Foreign Service. Inspired by the vision of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize, Ambassador Quinn has endeavored to build this annual $250,000 award into the "Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.” During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Quinn served: on the National Security Council staff at the White House; at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Vienna; as Chairman of the U.S. Inter-agency Task Force on POW/MIAs; and as Director of Iowa SHARES, the humanitarian campaign that sent Iowa doctors, nurses, medical supplies and food to starving Cambodian refugees. A fluent speaker of Vietnamese, Dr. Quinn acted as interpreter for President Gerald Ford at the White House and personally negotiated the first ever entry by U.S. personnel into a Vietnamese prison to search for U.S. POW/MIAs. He was also a member of the first U.S. team to gain entry to a former Soviet prison in Russia. Elected as a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ambassador Quinn has received numerous national honors and awards for his actions in multiple dangerous and violent situations.


For more information, please contact Anne Moraske at or 202-326-6759.


2017 Lecture: Joining Forces to Protect the Future of Agriculture and the Planet

Presented by Robert Fraley
Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto Company



Past Lectures

2016 Lecture
The Role of U.S. Research Universities in Meeting the Global Food Security Challenge
Dr. Randy Woodson
Chancellor of North Carolina State University

2015 Lecture
A University President’s Perspective on the Economic Importance of Pursuing a Unifying Message to Make Agriculture a National Priority
Dr. Steven Leath
President, Iowa State University

2014 Lecture
A Food and Agricultural Research Agenda to Deal with the Asteroids of the Future
The Honorable Daniel Glickman
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

2013 Lecture
Food, Feed and Fuel from Crops under Global Atmospheric Change: Could we have it all in 2030?
Dr. Stephen P. Long
Gutgesell Endowed University Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences
University of Illinois

2012 Lecture
Why Innovation in Agriculture Matters
Dr. Rob Horsch
Deputy Director for Research & Development
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2011 Lecture
Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food
Dr. Pamela C. Ronald
Professor, Department of Plant Pathology
University of California, Davis
Co-author of
Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food

2010 Lecture
Agricultural Research: Changing of the Guard, Guarding the Change
Dr. Roger Beachy
Formerly Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

About Charles Valentine Riley

Charles Valentine Riley was a prominent 19th century entomologist. In 1878, he was appointed to the post of Entomologist to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was chosen to be the first Curator of Insects for the Smithsonian Institution in 1885. Professor Riley became a member of AAAS in 1868, was elected a Fellow in 1874, and then went on to be the Vice President for the biology section in 1888.

The impact of his work of more than a century ago is still being felt today, not only in the fields of entomology and agriculture but also in other natural sciences. Professor Riley's vision and ability to see the role of agriculture in the productive use of the landscape, as an artistry upon which all society depends, is perhaps his greatest legacy.

For more information, please contact Anne Moraske at or 202-326-6759.