series event

The End of Famine? Prospects for the elimination of mass starvation by political action

The world almost conquered famine. Until the 1980s, this scourge killed ten million people every decade, but by early 2000s mass starvation had all but disappeared. Today, famines are resurgent, driven by war, blockade, hostility to humanitarian principles and a volatile global economy.

Join us for an evening discussion with the author of the book, Alex de Waal, and Professor Peter Piot (Director of LSHTM and Professor of Global Health).


In Mass Starvation, world-renowned expert on humanitarian crisis and response Alex de Waal provides an authoritative history of modern famines: their causes, dimensions and why they ended. He analyses starvation as a crime, and breaks new ground in examining forced starvation as an instrument of genocide and war. Refuting the enduring but erroneous view that attributes famine to overpopulation and natural disaster, he shows how political decision or political failing is an essential element in every famine, while the spread of democracy and human rights, and the ending of wars, were major factors in the near-ending of this devastating phenomenon.

Alex de Waal will also be signing copies of his book Mass Starvation. 

Books will be available to purchase for £15 (cash and cards accepted). 


Alex de Waal is the Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation and Research Professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.  Considered one of the foremost experts on Sudan and the Horn of Africa, his scholarly work and practice has also probed humanitarian crisis and response, human rights, HIV/AIDS and governance in Africa, and conflict and peace-building.


Following the discussion, there will be the presentation of the Elsevier Atlas award.  Each month Atlas showcases research that could significantly impact people’s lives around the world or has already done so. Elsevier Atlas award aspires to bringing wider attention to this research and so ensuring its successful implementation.


The 2017 published article The end of famine? Prospects for the elimination of mass starvation by political action” published in the journal Political Geography by Alex de Waal has been recently awarded the Elsevier Atlas.


Free to attend and open to all, but registration via Eventbrite is required.