The World Food Prize Foundation

WFP Founder Norman Borlaug receives America's highest civilian honor


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
UPDATED: July 18, 2007


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.



The Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
President George W. Bush Remarks and Video
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Remarks
Professor M.S. Swaminathan Keynote Address
View press releases and statements from Sen. Charles Grassley, Sen. Tom Harkin, Rep. Tom Latham, Rep. Leonard Boswell, and Rep. Steve King on Dr. Borlaug's acheivements
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug's Remarks as entered into the Congressional Record
Order a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal


Selected Press Coverage
"Borlaug receives rare 'triple crown'"
(The Des Moines Register, July 17, 2007)
"Borlaug has earned place among giants"
(The Des Moines Register Editorial, July 17, 2007)
"He saved a billion lives"
(Washington Times guest editorial by Elizabeth M. Whelan, July 18, 2007)
"Greatest Living American Ignored"
(Posted by Gregg Easterbrook on The Huffington Post, July 17, 2007)
"A thanks to Mr. Borlaug for feeding the world"
(The Des Moines Register, July 18, 2007)
"Borlaug deserves belated recognition"
(Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 18, 2007)
"Norman Borlaug: The unassuming innovator"
(The Dallas Morning News, July 22, 2007)
"He Only Saved a Billion People"
(By Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, July 30, 2007 issue)
"Continuing the Green Revolution"
By Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

(Originally Published in The Wall Street Journal,
July 18, 2007)






Iowa Senate votes 50-0 to place Borlaug statue in US Capitol (February 25, 2010)
World Food Prize dedicates $29.8 million Hall of Laureates in honor of Norman Borlaug (October 14, 2009)
Norman Borlaug discusses famine's persistence with WSJ in one of his final interviews (September 22, 2009)
Tributes to Norman Borlaug from around the world (September 13, 2009)
World Food Prize Founder and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug dies at age 95 (September 12, 2009)
Iowa Senators introduce legislation to declare Borlaug home a National Historic Site
(August 4, 2009)
Borlaug in Wall Street Journal: Farmers Can Feed the World
(July 30, 2009)
Borlaug/Lugar: A new green revolution
(April 5, 2009)
Borlaug: Start initiative to feed hungry worldwide
(March 16, 2009)
Dr. Borlaug to celebrate 95th birthday
(March 4, 2009)
Borlaug Honored with butter sculpture at Iowa State Fair (August 6, 2008)
President Bush, others present Dr. Borlaug with Congressional Gold Medal
(July 18, 2007)
Dr. Borlaug to receive Congressional Gold Medal
(December 6, 2006)
U.S. Senate votes to honor Borlaug with Congressional Gold Medal (September 28, 2006)
Penn, minus Teller, interviews Borlaug (August 15, 2006)
Norman Borlaug returns home to statehouse honors
(March 16, 2006)
Dr. Norman Borlaug recieves National Medal of Science
(February 14, 2006)
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug honored with Padma Vibhushan in India
(January 25, 2006)
'Food for Thought'
(published in the Wall Street Journal on October 14, 2005)
"My 60 Years of Fighting Hunger" a retrospective on the life of Dr. Norman Borlaug released from the First Annual Governor's Lecture
(PDF file, October 25, 2004)
Dr. Norman Borlaug throws ceremonial first pitch at Boston's Fenway Park
(June 9, 2004)


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