Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 8, 2014 — Priya Khanolkar of Keokuk High School was among the top students in the country selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Oct. 18-20, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa, during the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, which drew 1,500 people from more than 65 countries to discuss the world’s hunger and food security issues. The World Food Prize was founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug in order to recognize and inspire great achievements in improving the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world. This year’s World Food Prize events marked the culmination of a year-long anniversary celebration honoring Dr. Borlaug’s 100th birthday.
Students from across the United States and abroad researched global food security issues in the developing country of their choice, and then submitted papers on those critical topics, which they also presented to distinguished experts and scientists. At the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, Khanolkar and 160 other high school students had the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of internationally renowned World Food Prize Laureates and leaders in food, agriculture and international development.
Global Youth Institute attendees participated in symposium sessions featuring:
- His Excellency Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development
- The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, United States
- His Excellency Enrique Martinez y Martinez, Secretary of Agriculture, Mexico
- Her Excellency Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture, Liberia
- The CEOs of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies: DuPont, Elanco, Monsanto, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Syngenta; and
- Researchers, non-profit leaders and smallholder farmers from around the globe.
Khanolkar presented a paper on the theme “Confronting the Single Greatest Challenge in Human History” and participated in roundtable discussions with experts in industry, science, academia and policy. Research for the paper focused on major issues in global agriculture, development and food security in developing countries. Participants also helped with a hands-on service project packaging meals for Outreach, Inc., a hunger-fighting organization that serves people in Iowa and abroad, toured innovative research and industrial facilities in Slater and Nevada, Iowa – Syngenta Seeds and DuPont’s Cellulosic Ethanol Plant respectively – and took part in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to experience the realities of global hunger and poverty.
Created by Dr. Borlaug and Iowa businessman John Ruan in 1994, the Global Youth Institute today receives major support from Clay Mathile and the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition. The program was developed to challenge and inspire participating student-teacher teams to identify ways of alleviating hunger, and to expose the students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines. Of the students who complete the program, about 92% go on to pursue college degrees in agriculture and science and 77% choose careers in agriculture, STEM and other fields critical to the fight against hunger. The Institute also boasts an impressive, two-thirds participation by young women. Dr. Borlaug often stated, “I am certain that these students will become the future agricultural, scientific and humanitarian leaders in the fight to end hunger”.
At the Global Youth Institute, Khanolkar interacted with students and teachers from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Canada, China, Egypt, Mexico, Morocco, and Nigeria.
Participants also viewed the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony that honored the eminent plant scientist Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, born in India and a citizen of Mexico, for his scientific research that led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production – by more than 200 million tons – building upon the successes of the Green Revolution. His breakthrough breeding technologies have had a far-reaching and significant impact in providing more nutritious food around the globe and alleviating world hunger. Dr. Rajaram succeeded Dr. Borlaug in leading CIMMYT’s wheat breeding program, and developed an astounding 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries on six continents and have been widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike. Coverage of the 2014 Laureate Award Ceremony is available at www.worldfoodprize.org.
High school educators and students interested in participating should visit www.worldfoodprize.org/youth and select their state on the U.S. map, or other country link if living abroad, for information on the 2015 Global Youth Institute.
ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE: The World Food Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, 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. Laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Israel, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. In 1990, Des Moines businessman and philanthropist John Ruan assumed sponsorship of The Prize and established The World Food Prize Foundation, located in Des Moines, Iowa.