The World Food Prize Foundation

How Norm Inspired Me

Dr. Borlaug touched many lives... How has he inspired you?

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Keegan Kautzky

Leah Lucas

Aparna Ajjarapu

Alexandra Saueressig

Quotes and Insights:

Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States:

"Norman Borlaug's moral fortitude, his strength, his dedication to the world's poorest people, and his scientific brilliance were just a few of the reasons why he has been a hero of mine. I knew of his work while I was President, and I formed a task force with George McGovern and Bob Dole to see what the US could do to help Africa meet its food production challenges. But it was not until the mid-eighties that we were brought together by Ryoichi Sasakawa...

... I will never look at a field of wheat or maize without thinking of Norman Borlaug, and imagining him standing in the middle of it, holding a handful of seeds or soil and discussing a better life with the farmer who worked it.

But perhaps the most remarkable thing is that although most people Norm helped may never know his name, he would be very gratified that they no longer know hunger. I cannot think of a greater legacy to leave and a more fitting tribute to a man who gave so much of himself to others. But hunger still exists in places Norm couldn't reach, and we all owe it to him to remove the threat of famine once and for all."

Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the United Nations:

“As we celebrate Dr. Borlaug’s long and remarkable life, we also celebrate the long and productive lives that his achievements have made possible for so many millions of people around the world…we will continue to be inspired by his enduring devotion to the poor, needy, and vulnerable to our world."

Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

"I never met Dr. Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Prize-winning plant scientist who did more than anyone in history to fight hunger, but I've admired him for years.

When I started learning about agricultural development, his name came up so often that I felt as if he were my teacher. He began his career in the 1940s, helping Mexican farmers increase their yields almost sixfold by breeding better seeds. Over the next 40 years, that success spread throughout Latin America and Asia. The Green Revolution, as Dr. Borlaug's life's work is called, cut global hunger in half.

Some critics say the world's efforts to improve poor people's lives are doomed. But Dr. Borlaug is proof that large-scale progress is possible. He is a genuine hero, and his story should make us optimistic about the future."

Maria Belding, Pella High School Senior and World Food Prize/USDA Wallace-Carver Intern:

"I never met Norman Borlaug.

I certainly wish I had. But I was still in middle school when Iowa’s greatest hero died, still young and unaware of just how massive the world’s loss was in that moment and every moment since. When those who heard the man speak, shook his hand or labored alongside him in the fields comment on his work, I always wish I had a story of my own to share or something to add to the conversation. Perhaps now this will be it.

I could not learn directly from Dr. Borlaug, but I have learned from his legacies, the staff at the World Food Prize he left behind and the thousands of others he inspired in the anti-hunger fight. These are the people that see their roles in the lives of youth like myself not as our chaperones but as our champions, encouraging us to reach higher and go further and think bigger and challenge the idea that idealism combined with hard work will not get you anywhere. I may not have memories of Dr. Borlaug, but he’s certainly passed along his momentum to me through the generations.

I pray to do the same."

Monty Jones, 2004 World Food Prize Laureate and one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007:

"Long before I became a World Food Prize Laureate I was inspired by Norman Borlaug's dedication and scientific contribution to ending hunger. One could say he inspired me to become a geneticist.

His application of new methods of increasing productivity in Africa saved many lives. As we celebrate an extraordinary scientist and the 'Father of Green Revolution'  Africa is indeed grateful for his application of new methods of increasing productivity that led to saving many hungry lives and restoring hopes to many poor farmers. W e will continue to do our best to ensure that his legacy lives on and his dream for a food-secure world is achieved."



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