World Food Prize
The Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium
"Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in world agriculture, envisioned a prize that would honor those who have made significant and measurable contributions to improving the world's food supply. Beyond recognizing these people for their personal accomplishments, Borlaug saw The Prize as a means of establishing role models who would inspire others. His vision was realized when The World Food Prize was created in 1986.
Since 1986, The World Food Prize has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food throughout the world. Previous laureates have been recognized around the world, including from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Denmark, India, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States."
"The Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium is held each year in conjunction with the awarding of the World Food Prize. This annual dialogue brings together international experts and policy leaders to address cutting-edge issues in food security and nutrition.
Through the International Symposium, known informally as the Borlaug Dialogue, the World Food Prize Foundation helps build alliances in the struggle against world hunger and malnutrition. These efforts help to promote health, enhanced nutrition, and safety both at home and abroad with the first-ever conference to simultaneously address obesity and malnutrition and the first post-9/11 conference anywhere to address agroterrorism."
This year, the World Food Prize was held from October 15-17 in Des Moines, Iowa. The theme for the Borlaug Dialogue was "Confronting Crisis" to provide an arena to discuss the development of the current world food crisis and the future of development in the next fifty years. The Borlaug LEAP was able to send five Fellows to the Borlaug Symposium and World Food Prize activities including Mamadou Chétima, Pauline Nhamo, John Recha, Lenis Liverpool, and Idris Amusan. Our students were able to meet Dr. Borlaug, as well as leading scientists, officials, and leaders from over 60 countries. The activities at the World Food Prize provided a fantastic networking opportunity for the Fellows, and we hope to be able to send more students next year.
According to Borlaug LEAP Fellow John Recha, "I made a total of 115 new contacts and was thrilled when many of these leaders requested my resume and wanted to network with me. The World Food Prize award ceremony was spectacular and inspiring. All of this spurs me towards achieving leadership within my field to help alleviate hunger and poverty in Kenya, and in Africa, at large."
What the Fellows thought...
"The 2008 World Food Prize Symposium was memorable and well orchestrated. It [had] a positively indelible impact in the way I view global food security. My attendance afforded me [a] once in a lifetime opportunity to meet, discuss, exchange ideas, and network with creams of international public service officers, world leaders, policy makers, captains of multinational industries and funding agencies. Also, it was inspiring and wonderful meeting the legendary plant breeder, Dr. N. E. Borlaug, whose efforts contributed significantly to reducing global food insecurity. Besides, the Iowa field trips reinforced my strong support and advocacy for greater investments in rural infrastructural development/economy by government in developing nations, as a requisite for promoting sustainable agriculture and sustainable economic development. Many of the discussions at the Borlaug dialogue were simply mind blowing and eye open[ing]. The World Food Prize Symposium/Borlaug dialogue is truly a World class event.”
- Idris Amusan
"As a young African, female researcher, in the area of international development and policy, attending the 2008 International Borlaug Symposium and World Food Prize celebration in Des Moines, Iowa was a refreshing experience. It enabled me to meet and discuss with many distinguished research scientists who have contributed and are still contributing significantly towards agricultural productivity across the world. It also gave me the opportunity to interact with other young researchers like myself with different experiences and visions, challenging ourselves on how we can contribute in different capacities to increasing agricultural productivity and farmer welfare despite the seemingly insurmountable problems that persist in our various countries. It was an opportunity to discuss ideology versus practicality...
The Norman Borlaug dialog brought minds from different spheres (scientists; physical and social as well as policy makers, NGOs, private sector organizations and international development agencies). Via the presentations and discussions, we were reminded of the long road ahead for economic development in developing countries particularly Sub Saharan Africa and the critical role that agriculture can and must play. Lots of great ideas were exchanged and experiences shared highlighting the importance of different actors in the realization of the dream for a green revolution in Africa.
As always, after such prestigious discussions, the hope is that practical results will materialize. While it seems like a long journey ahead, to see all the different ways the work Norman Borlaug did has affected humanity, to see the collaborations and interactions that his work and life have fostered (including the LEAP fellowship that I am a beneficiary of) and the extent of the reach of these activities, I am impressed and challenged. He is truly a man of vision, hardworking and determined, extremely wise and cognizant of the fact that while alone, one can make a difference, with others one can truly change the world!”
- Lenis Liverpool
“I felt honored to attend the 2008 World Food Prize. The ceremony to award to the current laureates was spectacular and quite inspiring. It was nice to see people who are fighting for such a worthy cause, fighting world hunger, being recognized for all their efforts. However, what struck me more was the realization that there are many people out there who are putting efforts to fight world hunger especially in Africa, which is lagged behind the rest. The world recognizes that they need to help Africa to feed itself in order to succeed in eradicating hunger in the world. I really enjoyed the Borlaug dialogues where experts were sharing their experiences and insights on how to improve food production, especially in Africa. I learn[ed] that a number of partners are working together to implement the Green Revolution in Africa and discussions on the challenges outlined possible scenarios on what could be successful versus what should be avoided. These sessions were educational for me and provided ideas on where the future research in Africa lies. This was especially important for me now as I am finishing my studies. I now have some ideas on what areas I would like to research on, to help fight world hunger. I am thus grateful to the Norman Borlaug Fellowship that enabled me not only to carry out my doctoral research in Africa, but also to attend this first class event. This helped in setting up a foundation in my career. However, I think it would also be nice if the Norman Borlaug Foundation could set up Post-doctoral Fellowships to assist recent graduates to establish themselves in their careers.”
- Pauline Nhamo
“This was my very first time to travel outside Cornell University within the US! The experience of being in Des Moines city of Iowa was awesome. I got a chance of seeing mechanized farming in farms of about 1,000 acres of land; which are classified as small scale. This is a big contrast with my home country Kenya, where small scale farmers have an average of 3 acres of land where they practice labor intensive mixed farming. The tour to the Monsanto plant with its unique cutting edge technology gave me an insight into how seed genetic engineering is done, and enabled me [to] understand how the world's high yielding seeds are bred. The most important aspect of the symposium was networking. I had [a once in a] lifetime opportunity of meeting people I had never imagined I would. Specifically, I met World Food Prize laureates, eminent agriculturalists from all over the world including Africa, faculty and researcher fellows, dignitaries from government and non-governmental organizations, African diplomats, businessmen in the field of agriculture, Borlaug LEAP fellows and staff, USDA staff, and most important, Dr. Norman Borlaug himself. I made a total of 115 new contacts, and was thrilled when many of these leaders requested my resume and wanted to network with me too for a better future. Lastly but not least, the World Food Prize award ceremony was spectacular and inspiring. All these spur me towards achieving in leadership within my field to help alleviate hunger and poverty in Kenya, and Africa at large.”