"The man who saved a billion lives" is one step closer to Congressional Gold Medal of Honor
September 28, 2006
The United States Senate voted yesterday to honor World Food Prize Founder Dr. Norman E. Borlaug with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest honor given by the legislative branch.
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. In 1970 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for averting worldwide famine by starting the “Green Revolution,” the greatest period of food production in human history.
The resolution to honor Dr. Borlaug was introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). The next step is for the resolution to be passed by the House of Representatives.
In 1986, Dr. Borlaug founded the World Food Prize to recognize life-saving achievements that increase the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the award is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Food and Agriculture.”
“This first step is itself a remarkable tribute to Dr. Borlaug’s legacy of feeding the world,” said Amb. Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize. “We are extremely grateful to Senators Grassley and Harkin for their joint effort to pass this resolution in recognition of Dr. Borlaug’s accomplishments.”
Now 92, Dr. Borlaug was born in the small northeast Iowa town of Cresco. He continues to work for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, as well as the Sasakawa Global 2000 program in Africa. He travels extensively throughout the World most of the year, returning to the United States each fall to teach a course at Texas A&M University.
"We are proud that Dr. Borlaug calls Iowa home, but he is truly a citizen of the entire world," Grassley said. "Presenting the man who saved more lives than any other person in history with the highest honor that Congress can bestow is the least we can do to show our gratitude."
“Dr. Borlaug is a true American hero and it is fitting that we honor this man who has done so much to alleviate hunger and human suffering, improve the quality of life around the globe and promote understanding and peace among all of the world’s people,” Harkin said.
Dr. Borlaug will be in Des Moines, IA beginning October 15 to participate in the World Food Prize International Symposium. He will also attend the Twentieth Anniversary World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony on October 19 at the Iowa State Capitol.