More than 200 World Food Prize Foundation partners, state leaders and community members gathered at the Hall of Laureates on Wednesday evening to formally welcome Ambassador Terry Branstad as the Foundation’s new president. Governor Kim Reynolds was also on hand to share her congratulations and declare March 22, 2023 as Norman E. Borlaug and World Food Prize Heritage Day in Iowa.
The celebration comes three days before the 109th anniversary of Dr. Norman Borlaug’s birthday.
“Dr. Borlaug would be so pleased to see as our foundation’s president, the man who served as governor when the World Food Prize came home to Iowa, Ambassador Terry Branstad,” Foundation COO Mashal Husain said to robust applause.
Ambassador Branstad was named as the new President of the World Food Prize Foundation in January, though his experience with the organization dates back to its beginning in 1990. Ambassador Branstad was serving as governor of the state of Iowa 33 years ago when local businessman and philanthropist John Ruan, Sr., agreed to endow the World Food Prize, establish a foundation and move both home to Iowa.
“Ambassador Branstad was here on day one when the World Food Prize came to Des Moines and was envisioned by Norman Borlaug and John Ruan and he is here today to carry that vision into the future,” Foundation board chairman Paul Schickler said.
Ambassador Branstad, Husain and Schickler all recognized the unwavering support and generosity of the Ruan family, including John Ruan III, his wife Janis and children John Ruan IV and Rachel Ruan McLean, over the past three decades, which has allowed the World Food Prize Foundation to grow into a prestigious leader in the global food and agriculture arena. They also recognized Foundation President Emeritus and Ambassador, Dr. Kenneth Quinn, for his dedication and significant contributions to making the World Food Prize Foundation the organization it is today.
“As governor in 1990, I was proud of the bipartisan support for the World Food Prize returning to Iowa and to sign the legislation that provided the first state appropriation,” Ambassador Branstad said. “As President of the World Food Prize Foundation, I am honored to carry on the legacies of Norman Borlaug, John Ruan, Sr., and John Ruan III that have transformed agriculture not only in America but throughout the world.”
Governor Reynolds shared her appreciation for Ambassador Branstad as a role model and governor, for whom she served as Lt. Governor for nearly 8 years and applauded him as the perfect fit to lead the World Food Prize Foundation.
“When I think of the job description for the president of the World Food Prize Foundation, there is no better option than to select Ambassador Branstad,” Reynolds said. “It was a slam dunk.”