The World Food Prize Foundation

Global Youth Institute

Each year, over 200 exceptional high school students from around the world are selected to participate in the three-day Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation.

Selected students and their teachers/mentors travel to Des Moines, Iowa, USA, in mid-October to attend this exciting three-day event at which they interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and discuss pressing food security and agricultural issues with international experts.

During the conference, student delegates present and discuss their findings with international experts and their peers, connect with other students from around the world, tour cutting-edge industrial and research facilities, and take part in symposium discussions with global leaders in science, industry, and policy.

2020 Global Youth Institute

The 2020 Global Youth Institute was held virtually over the course of two weeks, providing students the opportunity to interact online with a diverse group of internationally renowned World Food Prize Laureates and leaders in nutrition, agriculture, technology, and international development.

Global Youth Institute attendees also participated in the full array of International Borlaug Dialogue sessions, featuring:

  • Former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore
  • 2020 World Food Prize ceremony honoring Dr. Rattan Lal
  • A Keynote by His Majesty Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of Jordan
  • Researchers and non-profit leaders from around the globe

As part of a collaboration between the Borlaug Dialogue and Global Youth Institute, student delegates were also invited to share their ideas from their research papers in a collaborative report that will be submitted to the advisors of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit. 

Interact with Global leaders

At the Global Youth Institute, student delegates present papers they have researched and written on a critical aspect of food security, and discuss their findings with international experts and their peers in roundtable discussions. Each discussion group of seven to nine students is led by three distinguished global leaders in science, industry, and policy. Student papers are subsequently published in the Global Youth Institute Proceedings and are available online.


Connect with Student Leaders from Around the World

Delegates have a unique opportunity to connect with other student leaders from around the world to discuss global challenges, share ideas, identify solutions to these problems, and build lasting friendships.


Tour Innovative Industrial and Research Facilities

When the Global Youth Institute is held in person, student delegates participate in tours of cutting-edge industrial and research facilities addressing issues related to food and water security, nutrition, global agriculture, and health. In recent years, students have toured Kemin Industries, ACH Food Companies, Inc./Tones's, Hawkeye Breeders Service, Early Morning Harvest Farm, Syngenta Seeds, Corteva Agrisciences, Monsanto, Lincolnway Energy Cooperative, the Des Moines Water Works and Treatment facilities, and Des Moines University’s Global Health Program.


Get Involved with Hands-On Projects

Students also have the opportunity to participate in guided team projects designed to develop community-based issue identification and problem-solving. In years when students are able to travel to Des Moines, delegates participate in the "Global Teams Challenge" to apply the knowledge they have learned at the conference to a real-world issue, utilizing innovative technology and forward-thinking strategies.

Attend the Symposium and Award Ceremony

Throughout the three-day program, student and teacher delegates participate in the Borlaug Dialogue, the leading international symposium on food security and international development, which brings together over 1,000 international experts and policy leaders from 65 countries.

Delegates who are able to travel to Des Moines for the confernce also attend the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony, commonly known as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture." It is awarded in recognition of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.


Travel Abroad and Start Making a Difference

By participating in the Global Youth Institute held in Iowa, students are eligible to apply for a prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, an all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience, working with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Since 1998, Borlaug-Ruan Interns have traveled to Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turkey to get a firsthand view of pressing food security and nutritional problems in poverty-stricken areas and take part in ground-breaking research.

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