The World Food Prize Foundation

Tributes to Norman Borlaug from around the world


UPDATED September 22, 2009 - Tributes to Dr. Norman E. Borlaug from around the world

UPDATED September 22, 2009 - - Following the death of World Food Prize Founder Norman Borlaug, various tributes to his impact and lasting legacy have been coming in from all parts of the globe. In honor of Dr. Borlaug, and those whom he has inspired, the World Food Prize is pleaed to share the following statements that have paid tribute to Dr. Borlaug both following his passing and throughout his long career.


2009 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Gebisa Ejeta reflects on the life and legacy of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.

Dr. Borlaug created the World Food Prize to recognize and inspire breakthrough achievements in improving the quality, quantity, and availability of food in the world. Dr. Ejeta will receive this year's Prize on October 15 at the Iowa State Capitol.

“Almost 40 years after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, you are still pushing and my hat is off to … you.”
- President Barack Obama (June 30, 2008)

"With the passing away of Dr. Norman Borlaug, an era has ended, in which he spearheaded a scientific revolution in agriculture. At a time in the sixties when the country was facing the spectre of severe food shortages, the introduction of Dr. Borlaug's high yielding varieties of seeds set in motion a technological revolution in Indian agriculture that led eventually to the country achieving self-sufficiency in food grains. The Green Revolution lifted the spirits of the Indian people and gave them new hope and confidence in their ability to tackle the country's daunting economic challenges... Dr. Norman Borlaug's life and achievements are testimony to the far reaching contribution that one man's towering intellect, persistence and scientific vision can make to human peace and progress. One of Dr. Borlaug's favourite quotations was to 'reach for the stars'. In doing so, Dr. Borlaug helped millions of people escape from a life of hunger and deprivation. On behalf of a grateful nation, I convey my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Norman Borlaug."
- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

"The Queen and I have learnt with profound sadness of the passing away of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize, whose accomplishment in providing food security to people around the world has been a true inspiration to all." - His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand

"The most fitting tribute we can offer this good man is to renew ourselves to his life's work, and lead a second Green Revolution that feeds the world. ... Dr. Borlaug, I thank you for your vision and dedication. I thank you for leading a life of great purpose and achievement. I thank you for proving to Americans that what we learned as children is true, that one human being can change the world."
- Former President George W. Bush

"Throughout his life, Dr. Borlaug was committed to alleviating hunger and improving food production technologies that have saved millions of lives. One day the advancements he shepherded may end our global hunger crisis. I have experienced first-hand the reverence that thousands of Africans have for Dr. Borlaug’s untiring efforts to relieve their hunger. His compassion and humanity will continue to inspire generations to come. Dr. Borlaug is a hero, and his contributions to the field of science and the cause of peace were immeasurable."
– Former President Jimmy Carter

“Dr. Borlaug’s life story is an inspiration for all. He was born on an Iowa farm and he never forgot his roots. Dr. Borlaug is an American hero and a world icon.”
Former President George H.W. Bush

In the death of Norman Borlaug, the world today has lost not only an eminent agriculture scientist but a man dedicated to the cause of humanity.”
- Indian Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar

"Dr. Borlaug’s passion for harnessing science to provide meaningful benefits in people’s daily lives continues to inspire us as we work to meet the global challenges posed by disease, hunger, and poverty. His life-long commitment to the developing world and the broad impact of his work demonstrate the important role that science must play in achieving global progress."
- United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

"Dr. Norman Borlaug was simply one of the world's best. A determined, dedicated, but humble man who believed we had the collective duty and knowledge to eradicate hunger worldwide. His efforts saved millions of lives and inspired thousands to dedicate their lives to doing the same. The World Food Prize, which he founded, will continue to acknowledge those who carry on the work of providing food to feed the world. Dr. Borlaug will be missed."
- United State Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

“More than any other person of this age, he has helped to provide bread for a hungry world.”
– Chair of the Nobel Committee, Mrs. Aase Lionaes (Nobel Peace Prize presentation, 1970)

"Norman E. Borlaug saved more lives than any man in human history. His total devotion to ending famine and hunger revolutionized food security for millions of people and for many nations. His heart was as big as his brilliant mind, but it was his passion and compassion that moved the world. We thank him for being our great champion in the battle against hunger.”
- World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran

Nobel laureate, Norman Borlaug, dedicated his life to finding ways to end hunger and help feed the world. His amazing research, powerful mind and passion for human life sparked a ‘green revolution’ that has made a tremendous contribution to helping end starvation. It was a personal privilege to know this wonderful man whose legacy will continue to save lives and inspire future generations.
- UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman

"No single person has contributed more to relieving world hunger than our
friend, the late Norman Borlaug. Norman was truly the man who fed the world, saving up to a billion people from hunger and starvation."
- Bread for the World President David Beckmann

"Dr. Norman Borlaug, universally acknowledged as the “father of Green Revolution” is a hero to me and very many others. I personally admire his single-minded devotion to science and agricultural development and his unending empathy and service for the poor. He has been a great example for scientific leadership and a life so well lived. As I reflect on his accomplishments and leadership, however, in my view the genius of Norm Borlaug was not in his creation of high yield potential and input responsive dwarf wheat varieties, not even in his early grasp of the catalytic effect of technology, but to a great extent in his relentless push to mobilize policy support to encourage the development of the agro-industry complex, to sustain the synergistic effects of technology, education, and markets."
- 2009 World Food Prize Laureate Gebisa Ejeta 

“Dr. Borlaug’s scientific leadership not only saved people from starvation, but the high-yield seeds he bred saved millions of square miles of wildlife from being plowed down. He is one of the great men of our age.”
 – 2008 World Food Prize Laureate George McGovern

“No one can deny the tremendous humanitarian and scientific contributions Dr. Borlaug and his colleagues have made to the world. Borlaug’s research techniques have done much to avert the threat of hunger and starvation.”
- 2008 World Food Prize Larueate Robert Dole

“All of us who are left on this crowded planet, and generations yet to come, have reason to be grateful to Norman Borlaug.  By his own work, and by the inspiration he gave to so many others, he improved the lives of everyone.  Agriculturalists will forever be aware that we could and should achieve so much more and that our determination to do what needs to be done must not be overcome by fear of controversy. Norman Borlaug in his Nobel acceptance speech taught us that honours should be accepted with humility and in the understanding that they carry with them even greater responsibility to lead by example.  Those of us who were privileged to meet him in his later years can testify that he never wavered from meeting that responsibility and to the effectiveness of his unfaltering advocacy for the causes he believed in.”
- 2004 World Food Prize Laureate Monty Jones

"Wheat varieties were brought to India and other developing countries by Borlaug and M.S. Swaminathan, when India was a ship-to-mouth country; imported food went direct to the ration shops. Such high yielding and disease resistant wheat varieties saved several millions of lives, not only in India but many other wheat-growing countries. The country owes Borlaug a deep debt of gratitude."
-1998 World Food Prize Laureate B.R. Barwale

"Norman Borlaug has saved the lives of millions of people through his
contribution in increasing food production. As the father of the Green
Revolution, his impact will be catalogued in history and remembered
forever. As an agronomist, economist, Nobel Laureate and intellectual, the world
has lost a profound human being."
- 1994 World Food Prize Laureate and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus

"Norman Borlaug is the living embodiment of the human quest for a hunger free world. His life is his message."
- 1987 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. M.S. Swaminathan

“Thanks to Dr. Borlaug’s pioneering work in the 1960s to develop varieties of high-yielding wheat, countless millions of men, women and children, who will never know his name, will never go to bed hungry. Dr. Borlaug’s scientific breakthroughs have eased needless suffering and saved countless lives. Dr. Borlaug has been an inspiration to new generations across the globe who have taken up the fight against hunger.” – Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell

“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. And as the United Nations continues its efforts to reach the ambitious but achievable Millennium Development Goal of reducing, by half, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, we will continue to be inspired by his enduring devotion to the poor, needy and vulnerable of our world.” – Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

“[Dr. Borlaug] is a living legend at Texas A&M, just as he is all around the globe. When you talk about service to mankind and people who truly make a difference in the world, you are talking about Norman Borlaug.”
– U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

“Whether a scientist, a professor or agribusiness owner, we all have an inspirational example to follow in Dr. Borlaug.”
– Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns

“Dr. Borlaug is a legend in India. His contribution has been on a scale which is very difficult to imagine. It has literally affected hundreds of millions of people and changed their lives.”
– Ambassador of India Ranendra Sen

"I mourn, along with so many Iowans and Americans, for the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug. It is a sad moment, yet I am also reminded of many, many wonderful memories. He was a truly great person who has had and will continue to have a profound impact on all of us. His contributions in the field of agriculture and his commitment to the human condition have filled so many hungry stomachs around the world. He will be dearly missed."
- United States Congressman Leonard Boswell

"Norman Borlaug was considered one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century for good reason. By most estimations, his agricultural innovations saved billions of lives and improved the nutrition and health of countless people across the globe. I was honored to meet Mr. Borlaug in 2007 when he received the Congressional Gold Medal at the Capitol, and I'm proud that he was a native Iowan. He will be missed, but the legacy of his life's work will live on for generations to come."
- United State Congressman Bruce Braley

"I am honored to have known Norm Borlaug. He was a remarkable man and a true son of the Iowa soil. A tenacity found through wrestling, a love of the soil and a twist of fate helped Norm develop the scientific breakthroughs to ease malnutrition and famine around the world. Norm Borlaug never forgot his roots, right here in the cornfields of Iowa, and Iowans will never forget him. He will continue to inspire generations of scientists and farmers to innovate and lift those mired in poverty."
- United State Senator Chuck Grassley

"Norman Borlaug was the father of the Green Revolution and the most beloved and honored Iowan of the 20th century whose contributions changed the lives of countless Americans and saved billions around the world. The way we farm and thus feed and fuel the world are a result of his influence. Though Dr. Borlaug is no longer with us, his vision for agriculture remains."
- United States Senator Tom Harkin

"Dr. Norman Borlaug saved more than a billion lives and brought hope and opportunity to some of the most needy people in the world. His work fighting famine and poverty had an immeasurable global impact. Iowans, Americans and people of many nations have been enriched by this amazing man's work. Borlaug was a giant among giants who gave the world modern high production agriculture. And in the process, saved as many as a billion people from starvation and gave opportunity to many more. He was the greatest living Iowan and now, at his passing, he joins the ranks of the angels for the virtuous good that he has done with his years on earth."
- United States Congressman Steve King

“Dr. Norman Borlaug is an American superhero that few people have heard of.”
– U.S. Congressman Tom Latham

“I want to express my sincere condolences to the Borlaug family in their time of grief with the passing of Norman Borlaug. Mr. Borlaug was a native Iowa son who made immeasurable contributions to humankind. Throughout his entire life, Mr. Borlaug's hard work, and curious mind, led to some of the most important advances in modern agriculture, allowing millions of the world's hungry to know a better and more secure life.”
- United States Congressman Dave Loebsack

"Norman Borlaug is one of the greatest humanitarians who ever lived. He is not only a scientist, but a doer and an activist who believes in the power of science to better the lives of people everywhere - especially in the developing world."
– President of AgBioWorld Foundation C.S. Prakash

© 2023 The World Food Prize Foundation. All Rights Reserved.