The World Food Prize Foundation

Gift from Paul and Claudia Schickler to Expand the World Food Prize Youth Education Programs to All Iowa High Schools, Build Student Interest in Science


Governor Branstad says the financial commitment is a strong example of a public-private initiative that can significantly enhance educational opportunities in Iowa.

Paul Schickler announces a $400,000 contribution from he and his wife, Claudia, to expand the Global Youth Institute, during a ceremony at the Iowa Governor's Office.

John Ruan III, Chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation; Paul Schickler, President of Pioneer HiBred; Gov. Terry Branstad; and Amb. Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation

Des Moines, Iowa (July 20, 2011) – The World Food Prize Foundation announced today that Paul and Claudia Schickler of Des Moines will commit $400,000 over the next three years to expand the foundation’s Global Youth Institute to every Iowa high school beginning in 2012. The announcement was made during a ceremony in the Governor’s Office at the Iowa State Capitol.

“Iowa plays a critical role in feeding the world. To meet that growing challenge, young people need a strong foundation in science and an appreciation for global issues,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “I hope the Schicklers’ leadership in enhancing education in Iowa will inspire others here and across the country to engage in developing young people to meet the pressing challenges we face.”

Governor Branstad expressed his great appreciation for the “exceptionally generous contribution.” He pledged to help build the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, a unique educational endeavor that aims to increase students’ interest in the sciences and introduce them to global issues, into a model for the United States. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R), and Senator Matt McCoy (D) also spoke at the event in support of the new endeavor.

Governor Branstad said he was pleased that this extension of programming would be done without any new state appropriation, adding that it was particularly appropriate to have this initiative announced in conjunction with the Iowa Education Summit, which will be held July 25-26. He noted that this initiative will bring significant added attention to the importance of emphasizing the study of science, technology and mathematics in high school.

“Claudia and I have been great admirers of the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute and we believe this program has significant potential for enhancing the study of science in high schools and getting students excited about careers in science,” said Paul Schickler, long-time Des Moines resident and currently president of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. “We need all the bright minds we can find to meet the challenge of feeding the 9 billion people that will be on the planet in 2050.”

Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, expressed his appreciation and that of John Ruan III, the chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation, for the generous contribution from the Schicklers.

“The Schicklers’ support will allow the expansion of what is already a very successful program,” Quinn said. “Started 17 years ago, this youth education program was the vision of John Ruan Sr. and Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize and Iowa’s most important humanitarian and agricultural hero. As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the World Food Prize this year, it is only fitting to build on Dr. Borlaug’s legacy and expand our work with youth who will become the next generation of experts working in international food security and in confronting hunger.” 

As part of the expanded program, Iowa State University will host students chosen from each Iowa high school for one day each year and select the top students to attend the Global Youth Institute in October.

“Iowa State University is pleased to be able to play a critical role in building this expanded program into a model for all other land grant institutions,” said ISU President Gregory Geoffroy, who is also a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors. “I look forward to seeing the first group of Borlaug Scholars come to campus for a daylong program in Fall 2012, and to compete to attend the Global Youth Institute.”

Every year, participating students from high schools across the state research and write an essay on a particular food security topic. Starting in 2012, they will then gather together at Iowa State University for a daylong event. The top students from Iowa and several other states will be invited to attend the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, where they interact with experts at the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, tour research facilities and do other interactive and service-learning activities, and present their research findings to a panel of experts that include World Food Prize laureates and other renowned scientists. They are then eligible to apply for World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan International Internships, which are eight-week summer internships at research centers in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Learn more about the World Food Prize youth programs at

To see a few photos of the event, click here.

ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE:  The World Food Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. The World Food Prize honors outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States.

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