Kaitlyn Boyer of Clarke High School was among the top students in the country selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Oct. 17-19 in Des Moines 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 kicked off the beginning of a year-long anniversary celebration in honor of Dr. Borlaug’s 100th birthday that will culminate in fall 2014.
Students from across the United States and abroad researched global food security issues in the country of their choice, and then submitted papers on those critical topics, which they also presented to renowned experts and scientists.
At the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, Boyer and 150 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:
• Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, president of Iceland
• His Eminence Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Holy See, The Vatican
• Akinwumi A. Adesina, honorable minister of agriculture and rural development, Nigeria
• Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Howard G. Buffett and Howard W. Buffett, who announced the creation of the 40 Chances Fellows program, a partnership of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative and The World Food Prize
• The chief-executive officers of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies — DuPont, Elanco, Kemin Industries, Monsanto, Novus International and Syngenta
• Researchers, non-profit leaders and smallholder farmers from around the globe.
Boyer presented a paper on the theme “Ending Hunger In Our Lifetime: A Call to Action” 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 International, a hunger-fighting organization that serves people in Iowa and abroad, toured an Iowa farm 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.
At the Global Youth Institute, Boyer interacted with students and teachers from Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Bangladesh, China, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey, and South Africa.
Participants also viewed the 2013 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony that honored three individuals – Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert Fraley of the United States – for their independent, individual breakthrough achievements in founding, developing, and applying modern agricultural biotechnology.
Their research is making it possible for farmers to grow crops with improved yields, resistance to insects and disease and the ability to tolerate extreme variations in climate.
Coverage of the 2013 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 2014 Global Youth Institute.