The World Food Prize Foundation

Youth Programs History

First initiated by John Ruan and Dr. Norman Borlaug in 1994, the World Food Prize Foundation’s youth programs have become the “crown jewel” of the Iowa educational experience and are widely recognized as the only youth programs of their kind in the United States and globally.

Since its inception, over 1,000 Iowa students and 200 teachers from 150 high schools across the state have participated in the three-day Global Youth Institute.

More than 100 Iowa high school students have traveled to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East through the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program to work alongside renowned scientists at leading international research centers. 
 
Each year, several outstanding undergraduate and graduate students gain unparalleled professional experience working at the World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa, as George Washington Carver Interns. Past interns have come from universities and colleges across the state, including: Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, Grand View College, Grinnell College, Luther College and Morningside College.
 
The World Food Prize Foundation also provides educational materials to Iowa schools through the state’s Area Education Agencies, coordinates an annual professional development seminar allowing participating teachers to earn advanced or re-licensure credit, and facilitates an annual lecture program for schools, colleges, universities, and community groups throughout Iowa and the Midwest. 
 
With the generous support of Mr. Clay Mathile and a commitment of up to $2 million from the Mathile Institute, the World Food Prize Foundation has initiated a national expansion of the youth programs. With the establishment of qualifying State Youth Institutes in Ohio in 2004; Texas, Nebraska and Minnesota in 2007; Indiana in 2008, and New York in 2009, the reach and impact of these exceptional programs is growing rapidly.
 
To date, over 100 exceptional students from across the country have traveled to Iowa to participate in the Global Youth Institute and Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program. 
 
The World Food Prize Foundation’s youth programs are administered by Lisa Fleming, Director of International Internships and Career Development, Keegan Kautzky and Libby Crimmings, the Directors of National Education Programs, and Kelsey Tyrrell, Director of Global Education Programs.
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