Selected Profile from Directory

Photo of Linley Chiwona-Karltun

Linley Chiwona-Karltun

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow

Malawi and Sweden

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Linley Chiwona-Karltun has led efforts to integrate indigenous knowledge on food toxicity, processing and food safety into western research on food technology.  “The Importance of Being Bitter”, her early book on cassava toxicity, has motivated a generation of scholars to build on indigenous knowledge in the food sciences by combining local observations and experience with western science to develop practical means for maintaining food safety as African food systems increasingly shift from household-level to commercial food processing and marketing systems. 

Linley has served as strong advocate for African farmers and women who raise their family’s food and prepare family meals.  She has served as a powerful role model and mentor for female scientists and for young professionals interested in African food systems. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • Grandmother’s astonishing wisdom and awareness of food nutritional properties, toxicity and processing requirements. 
  • First-hand awareness of ordinary household struggles to attain food security in rural Malawi. 
  • Deep appreciation for farmer wisdom in varietal identification, selection and management.
  • Desire to combine western science with indigenous knowledge on food safety and nutritional properties. 

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Revamp textbooks and curricula
    • Put African production, markets and delivery systems in global context.
    • Use practical African examples; make it real!
    • Use policy relevant teaching – communicate agricultural policies in a language that is easy to understand.
    • Africa can feed itself if we honestly can support each other and work together.
  •  Motivate and mentor student interest in agriculture and food sciences

    • Instill confidence and self-esteem.
    • Send professional role models to schools and youth gatherings to inspire African youth about the power of agricultural sciences and the range of potentially rewarding careers available in agriculture, agribusiness and food sciences.
    • Africans need to learn how to pay back and play their wealth forward for tomorrows future; it is our responsibility to create the Africa we want.
    • African networks are key – be Proudly African!

 Career highlights.

  • Board Member, Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD) 2013 onwards.
  • Executive Programme for Women Leaders, Stanford University, USA , 2014.
  • Visiting Scientist, Cornell International Institute for Food and Development  Cornell University,  USA, 2013.
  • Associate Editor, AMBIO A journal of the Human Environment 2011 onwards.
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, 2001 to present.
  • International Foundation for Science, Scientific Trainer & Programme Coordinator, 2008-10.
  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Research Project Leader – Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), 2013 – present.
  • Co-founder Chinangwandi Mabatata Roots and Tubers Enterprise (CMRTE) 2002 onwards.
  • Karolinska Insitutet, Research Assistant and Course Administrator, International Health, 1998 – 2002.
  • Uppsala University, Lecturer, Nutrition, Health and Agriculture in low-income Countries 1991 - 2001.

Educational background

  • Primary School
    • Kayilisi Primary School, Chisenga 1 year.
    • Limbe private primary school, Limbe, Standard 1.
    • Our Lady’s Convent School, Limbe, Standard 2-3.
    • Sir Harry Johnston primary school, Zomba, Standard 4-6.
  • Secondary School

    • St. Andrews Secondary School, Blantyre, Form 1.
    • Nkhamenya Girls Secondary School, Kasungu, Form 1-2.
    • Marymount Girls Secondary School, Mzuzu, Form 3-4.
    • Our Lady’s Convent High School, North Umberland, UK A levels, 1980-2.
  • University

    • BSc, East Carolina University, Food Science, Nutrition and Institutional Management, 1987.
    • MSc, Uppsala University, Department of Nutrition, MSc Human Nutrition, 1991.
    • PhD, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences, 2001.