The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing -- without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs -- the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
The Prize recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply -- food and agriculture science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership and the social sciences.
The World Food Prize emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people. By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal, The Prize calls attention to what has been done to improve global food security and to what can be accomplished in the future.
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 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 countries around the world, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States.
The World Food Prize is sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan and is located in Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Ruan stepped forward to endow The Prize in 1990 when its first sponsor withdrew. Without Mr. Ruan's generosity, The Prize and Dr. Borlaug's vision could not have continued. Today John Ruan's son, Mr. John Ruan III, has succeeded his father as chairman of the World Food Prize. The Foundation's president is Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn. A Council of Advisors provides guidance and support.
The World Food Prize Youth Institute was established in 1994 by The World Food Prize Foundation. The primary goal of the Institute is to increase awareness of The World Food Prize mission among Iowa youth. Through the application process, students and their mentor teachers (one student/teacher team per high school) are selected to attend the annual three-day Youth Institute in October. These schools represent a cross-section throughout the state, including large and small, urban and rural communities.