With great excitement, we present this editorial to reflect on the recently concluded SNEB International Conference 2023 and its transformative potential. A year ago, we introduced the theme, “Empowered Food Citizens: Together for Nutrition and Food Systems Transformation,” along with the slogan, “Re-connect, Re-nourish, and Re-inspire.”1 These concepts guided our conference planning, emphasizing our commitment to delivering attendees a memorable and impactful experience.
As we set the stage for the conference, we invited attendees to explore our annual meeting agenda.2 The agenda reflected the dedication, teamwork, and collective effort of the SNEB Conference Planning Committee, SNEB members, advisors, and valued partners.3 We thanked all who had joined us on this planning journey, including representatives from government entities, academia/research institutions, United Nations agencies, international organizations, civil society groups, Indigenous peoples, and youth-led organizations. Together, we created a conference that truly embraces diversity and inclusivity.
The conference was thoughtfully organized into 4 distinctive days, each with a specific focus: reconnect (day 1), re-nourish (days 2–3), and re-inspire (day 4). In the following sections, we explored the intricacies of each element, highlighting the unique opportunities for attendee engagement, learning, and inspiration.
RECONNECTED. The 2023 SNEB conference strongly emphasized reconnection with ourselves, each other, and nature.4 Activities like Capitol Hill visits, field trips, workshops, learning labs, the tech playground, mentoring, networking, physical activity breaks, and nature connection sessions facilitated this reconnection. The plenary opening session was a pivotal moment for attendees to reconnect with the land and Indigenous culture while recognizing the crucial role of nutrition education in shaping food systems.5 Led by Celebrity Chef Daniel W. Thomas, it featured a multistakeholder panel discussion and engaging activities that encouraged both panelists and participants to connect, explore, and share their unique ingredients in empowering food citizens.
RE-NOURISHED. Re-nourishing was a guiding principle to ensure alignment with the theme of “empowering food citizens” and created valuable opportunities for nourishing attendees’ professional development and learning journey. With a lineup of over 200 speakers, 55 program sessions, 204 poster abstracts, and 32 oral research abstracts across seven tracks, there was a wealth of enriching content and experiences available to nourish attendees’ heads, hearts, and hands.6 A notable speaker at the conference was Shakuntala Thilsted, a World Food Prize Laureate. Her keynote session at the George M. Briggs Nutrition Science Symposium presented her research, insights, and related innovation in promoting holistic and nutrition-sensitive aquatic food systems. The implications of her research for nutrition education were also explored.
RE-INSPIRED: Re-inspiration was the crucial element that completed the transformative triad at the conference, showcasing innovative projects and inspiring conversations aimed at empowering food citizens in diverse communities. The closing session, the Bee Marks Communication Symposium, led by Partnership for Healthier America, exemplified this element by facilitating the collective envisioning of a vibrant, sustainable, and nourishing food system. SNEB’s Divisions also played a vital role in developing and sharing impactful call-to-action closing statements, ensuring the momentum generated during the conference extended beyond its conclusion.7 Importantly, the conference’s outcomes will be shared at the World Food Forum in Rome, scheduled for October 2023.8 This global platform provides SNEB with an opportunity to contribute to international dialogues and initiatives, inspiring others about the indispensable role of nutrition education in shaping a better future for our food systems.
In conclusion, the SNEB International Conference 2023 proved to be a transformative event that renewed connections, fostered nourishment, and sparked inspiration. We extend our sincere thanks once again, and we look forward to welcoming you next year at SNEB 2024 as we continue to come together and make a difference through the power of nutrition education.