World Food Prize Foundation honors Iowa State University with the Borlaug Medallion

In his last act as president of the World Food Prize Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn presented Iowa State University with the Norman E. Borlaug Medallion on Jan. 3.

Iowa State University joined the past honorees as only the ninth recipient of the Borlaug Medallion. Presented in the spirit of Norman E. Borlaug, this award recognizes world leaders and exceptional institutions for their impact on issues of global food security that benefit humankind.

Norman Borlaug created The World Food Prize and carefully structured it as an award to recognize individual achievements in increasing the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world. It is now commonly referred to as the “Nobel Prize for food and agriculture.” The Borlaug Medallion honors those organizations and senior-most leaders and heads of state who would not ordinarily be eligible for The World Food Prize, but who have made an especially noteworthy contribution to improving the world’s food supply and ensuring adequate nutrition. Iowa State University, particularly under the leadership of President Wendy Wintersteen, is clearly one of those extraordinary institutions.

“The decision to award the Borlaug Medallion to Iowa State University was based on the very special relationship that Dr. Borlaug had to the university during his life, and the critical role that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has played and continues to play in the development and implementation of World Food Prize programs over the past two decades,” Quinn said.

Quinn cited the following reasons for the awarding of the medallion:

  • The leadership of President Wendy Wintersteen in building the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute while she served as Dean of CALS, and her continued significant involvement as president including her participation in the Borlaug Dialogue Symposium and on the Council of Advisors;

  • The continuation of that essential leadership at CALS by Dean Daniel Robison expanding involvement with the World Food Prize Foundation;

  • The two-decade-long involvement by Associate Dean David Acker in the Global Youth Institute and, for a period, the World Food Prize Secretariat; and

  • The research and leadership of the Seed Science Center under the direction of Manjit Misra, where Dr. Borlaug served on the advisory board.

Moreover, when the World Food Prize was first relocated to Iowa in 1990, then University President Gordon Parks provided strong support to John Ruan Sr. in his successful effort to rescue the World Food Prize. That support was continued by Greg Geoffroy and Steve Leath during their tenure as presidents of the university, through their service on the Foundation’s council of advisors.

The Borlaug Medallion has previously been presented to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; the Sasakawa Family and its Nippon Foundation of Japan; Kofi Annan for his leadership of the United Nations; the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in the United States; CIMMYT; Texas A&M University; the University of Minnesota; and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.