Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures

AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures

AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures

View 2021 lecture here.

AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures


Listed below are brief descriptions of past AAAS Riley Memorial Lectures.

View videos and read proceedings of the lectures and associated panel discussions here.


Dr. Evan H. DeLucia, G. William Arends Professor of Integrative Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign spoke on “Rethinking American Agriculture: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Food Production” (November 19, 2020)


Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, Director General Emeritus, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines spoke on “Science and policy: their Yin and Yang dynamic and global food security” (September 17, 2019)


Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology, University of California, Davis, spoke on “Does Agriculture Have a Parallel Science Problem?” (June 5, 2018)


Robert Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto, spoke on “Joining Forces to Protect the Future of Agriculture and the Planet,” addressing the need for collaboration and disruptive innovation to meet the world’s food security and environmental challenges, with a collective push for increased R&D funding and better communication with society about science-related issues. (June 15, 2017)


Randy Woodson, Chancellor, North Carolina State University, spoke on “The Role of U.S. Research Universities in Meeting the Global Food Security Challenge.” (May 23, 2016)


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


The Honorable Daniel Glickman, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, spoke on “A Food and Agricultural Research Agenda to Deal with the Asteroids of the Future.”


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


Rob Horsch, Deputy Director for Research & Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke on “Why Innovation in Agriculture Matters.”


Pamela C. Roland, Professor of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, spoke on “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.”


Roger Beachy, Director, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, spoke on “Agricultural Research: Changing of the Guard, Guarding the Change.”

Early Speakers, 2006 and 2008

Prior to the endowment established at AAAS, RMF hosted two national lectures honoring Charles Valentine Riley. RMF collaborated with USDA’s National Agricultural Library and Texas A&M University to present Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures in 2006 and 2008.

The 2008 lecture was presented by Joachim von Braun, then Director General, International Food Policy Institute, on “Agriculture for Sustainable Economic Development: A Global R&D Initiative to Avoid a Deep and Complex Crisis.” 

The 2006 lecture was presented by Per Pinstrap-Anderson, H.E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy at Cornell University and World Food Prize Laureate on “The Impact of Technology Change in Agriculture on Poverty and Armed Conflict.”

Riley's Connection with AAAS

Professor Riley joined AAAS in 1868. He was elected a Fellow in 1874, and began serving as Vice President for the biology section in 1888. His participation there highlights his broad view of how science impacts agriculture. It is also why the lecture collaboration between AAAS, RMF and WFPF provides a unique opportunity to build upon Riley’s legacy.

Founding Endowment

In 2008, the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF) selected the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to receive an endowment to further the goals of RMF and to build on the legacy of Charles Valentine Riley by establishing an annual lecture. A collaborative agreement between RMF, AAAS and the World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF) was signed to implement the intent of the endowment.