The World Food Prize Foundation

Global Youth Institute

Each year, AROUND 200 exceptional high school students from across the United States and other countries are selected to participate in the three-day Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation.

Selected students and their teacher mentors travel to Des Moines, Iowa, 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.

At the Global Youth Institute, 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.

Teacher mentors register their student(s) to participate in a qualifying State Youth Institute (if the student resides in Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin) or apply for an at-large delegate seat at the Global Youth Institute (if the student resides in another state or country). The students then research and write a short research report on a critical food security issue under the direction of their teacher mentor.

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 round table 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 across the United States and around the world to discuss global challenges, share ideas, and identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships. In 2016, 200 students from 32 U.S. states and territories as well as from several foreign countries participated in the Global Youth Institute.


Tour Innovative Industrial and Research Facilities

Each year, student delegates at the Global Youth Institute 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 ACH Food Companies, Inc./Tones's, Hawkeye Breeders Service, Early Morning Harvest Farm, Syngenta Seeds, DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, Blank Children’s Hospital, Lincolnway Energy Cooperative, DuPont Nevada Site Cellulosic Ethanol Facility, 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. Since 2009, student delegates have participated in the Kids Care International Outreach training program where they package food aid for vulnerable and food-insecure populations abroad and in the U.S. and develop community-action checklists in small groups.


Attend the Symposium and Award Ceremony

Throughout the three-day program, student and teacher delegates participate in the Borlaug Dialogue, a “davos-style” dialogue which brings together about 1,500 international experts and policy leaders from 65 countries to address cutting-edge challenges in food security and international development.

Delegates to the Global Youth Institute also attend the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony in the historic Iowa State Capitol, as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture” 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, nearly 300 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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