Chantal Wei-Ying Clément
Deputy Director, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)
PhD in Political Science (subfields International Relations and Comparative Politics), 2017
While I don’t particularly recommend trying to finish a PhD and starting a new job across the Atlantic, I joined the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) during the last year of my PhD in 2016 to oversee the organization’s research and activities. IPES-Food’s mission to promote transition to sustainable food systems was very well aligned with my own convictions and research on the governance mechanisms needed to foster sustainable food systems.
Since then, highlights of my work have been in supporting the development of collaborative food policy process in the EU, launching an alliance for agroecology in West Africa with local partners, pushing for more discussions on food and local action at the climate COPs, and supporting the publication of reports on food systems issues ranging from concentration of power in food supply chains to positive case studies of food systems transformation from around the world. I’ve particularly appreciated that my work has been able to remain rooted in research, but with practical applications in its focus on movement building and policy reform. It has also confirmed my belief in transdisciplinary research and co-production of knowledge as key tools to create change.
For anyone embarking on a PhD, I’ve always stressed the importance of finding a good supervisor and professors who will champion you and your work and help you grow. My time at Carleton was marked by professors who really inspired me for their passion and idealism in their research – people who I call mentors to this day for their guidance not just in my research and my career but in being a better person!