UPDATED: July 18, 2007 - Dr. Norman Borlaug receives Congressional Gold Medal
“Father of Green Revolution” feted by President Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Iowa Delegation and others at Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
Dr. Norman Borlaug is presented the Congressional Gold Medal by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, President George W. Bush and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, Founder of the World Food Prize and "Father of the Green Revolution," cemented his position as one of history's greatest humanitarians by receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian honor.
With receipt of the award, Dr. Borlaug became one of only five people in all of history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. The other four are Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal, President Bush pointed to Borlaug as a testament to the idea that "one human being can change the world."
"Norman Borlaug has lived his life with urgency," President Bush said. "He has long understood that one of the greatest threats to global progress is the torment of human hunger." See the President's full remarks.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recalled President John F. Kennedy declaring in 1963 that "The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation."
“No person, before or since, has done more to answer the call to help liberate the world from hunger," said Pelosi. " As such, Dr. Borlaug is one of the greatest liberators the world has ever known." Speaker Pelosi's remarks can be found here.
The ceremony's keynote address was delivered by Professor M.S. Swaminathan, a long-time colleague and friend of Dr. Borlaug and the first World Food Prize Laureate.
Calling Dr. Borlaug "one of the greatest Americans and humanists of all times," Prof. Swaminathan highlighted the impact of Dr. Borlaug's work in India.
"The impact of the Borlaug-led Green Revolution symphony will be clear from the fact that during 1964-68, Indian farmers increased wheat production in four years by an order greater than that achieved during the preceding 4000 years," Swaminthan said. Prof. Swaminthan's full remarks can be found here.
Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa summed up Dr. Borlaug's contributions to humanity by saying "Norman Borlaug has saved more lives than any other person in history."
According to Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, it was more than scientific savvy that led to Dr. Borlaug's achievements.
“Many in this room see Norman Borlaug as a great scientist, a great agronomist, a great humanitarian," said Harkin. "I see a great persuader – a man who, time and again, overcame political and cultural challenges in order to spread his revolution first in Asia, then in South America, and now in Africa."
"His work changed production agriculture, as we know it today," said Rep. Leonard Boswell or Iowa.
Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa made it clear that Dr. Borlaug's work will long be remembered.
“Dr. Norman Borlaug is a true American Hero whose work to save the lives of the world’s neediest people through agricultural innovation will long be remembered," Latham said.
Proving that he is not satisfied to rest on his laurels, Dr. Borlaug stressed the importance of continuing the fight against hunger.
"We need better and more technology, for hunger and poverty and misery are very fertile soils into which to plant all kinds of 'isms,' including terrorism,'' he said.
Dr. Borlaug's challenge appeared to have been taken up by President Bush.
"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, and today we'll make a pledge to do so,'' Bush said.
Dr. Borlaug received an original gold medal created by the United States Mint that signifies Dr. Borlaug's achievements (order a replica through the U.S. Mint here.)
Dr. Borlaug is believed to have saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived—more than a billion—through his breakthrough work in agriculture. He is widely credited with ushering in the “Green Revolution,” the greatest period of food production in human history (see all of Dr. Norman Borlaug's accomplishments).
Dr. Norman Borlaug addresses the audience after receiving the Congressional Gold Medal
Dr. Borlaug (center) is celebrated by (l-r) Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize, Rep. Leonard Boswell, Iowa Governor Chet Culver, Sen. Tom Harkin, Rep. Tom Latham, Rep. Steve King and Rep. Bruce Braley at a reception co-hosted by the Iowa Congressional Delegation and the World Food Prize.
MORE STORIES ON DR. BORLAUG:
Iowa Senate votes 50-0 to place Borlaug statue in US Capitol (February 25, 2010)