(Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 14, 2012) -- The World Food Prize Foundation and its president, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, will this week welcome Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping during the first U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium, which will be hosted by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Chinese Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu will also participate in the event with many other government officials, business leaders and industry experts to discuss critical food security issues and cooperation between the two nations.
“Our foundation is greatly honored that the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates has been chosen to host Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and his delegation during this historic visit to Iowa,” said Quinn. He added that it is also a personal privilege for him because Quinn met Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, in 1980 during one of the very first exchanges between state and provincial leaders from the United States and China.
“Global food security is a critical issue that I know Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Secretary Vilsack, and the leaders of China all feel very passionate about, as did World Food Prize founder Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. We are very pleased to help facilitate this momentous occasion,” Quinn added.
The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, a century-old building that opened this past fall following a $30 million restoration, celebrates Dr. Borlaug, Iowa’s greatest hero, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his agricultural innovations that helped stave off famine in Asia. Throughout the building, artwork depicts agricultural scenes from around the world, educates people about global food security, and celebrates the heroes who have won the $250,000 prize over the past 25 years.
Founded 25 years ago, the World Food Prize recognizes individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. It is most appropriate to hold this historic conference on Feb. 16 at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, as the organization annually hosts what has been called “the premier conference in the world on global agriculture.”
The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates will also be the venue for a conference and signing ceremony on Feb. 15, which is being organized by the Chinese Soybean Association, the American Soybean Association and the Iowa Soybean Association.
The World Food Prize Foundation has a number of significant connections to China, including:
- During the Foundation’s 25-year history, two citizens of China have received the $250,000 World Food Prize: H.E. He Kang, the Minister of Agriculture of China in 1993; and Professor Yuan Longping, the head of the Chinese National Rice Research Center, in 2004.
- In 2004, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and Ambassador Quinn held a joint symposium in Beijing co-sponsored by the World Food Prize Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
- Each year, the Foundation sends four high school students as Borlaug-Ruan International Interns to China for eight-week assignments at leading Chinese agricultural research institutions, including: Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; Peking University; and China Agricultural University.
- Dr. Chen Zhangliang, past president of China Agricultural University and current Vice Governor of Guangxi Province, serves as a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors.
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