MG Venkatesh Mannar, OC
Venkatesh Mannar is a leader and champion in global nutrition, pioneering effective technology and development initiatives that benefit the world’s most vulnerable citizens
A chemical engineer (IIT Madras, India; Northwestern University, USA) and food technologist, Mannar started his career in Chennai, India as Managing Director of a large salt company. It was here that he developed an interest to fortify salt and foods to deliver nutrients. He moved to Canada with his family in 1990. Through his work with UNICEF, WHO, World Bank and CIDA, Mannar was the principal architect of the global salt iodization program that has led to a dramatic reduction in iodine deficiency disorders across the world. In 1994 he joined the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) – initially a secretariat within the International Development Research Centre subsequently spun off as an independent non-profit organization - in Ottawa. As President, he built and directed the organisation’s mission to deliver cost-effective and sustainable solutions for micronutrient deficiencies. Today Mannar’s work through MI directly benefits nearly 500 million adults and children in over 75 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2013, Mannar was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours, for his leadership in the global fight against malnutrition.
Since retiring from MI in 2014, Mannar has rededicated his efforts to alleviate under nutrition around the world. With support from the Tata Trusts, he heads the India Nutrition Initiative working with the Government of India to scale up access to key nutrients across the country. Concurrently he is pursuing his research and teaching interests in nutrition and food technology through appointments as Adjunct/Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto and Cornell University.