The World Food Prize Foundation

Media Registration Now Open: 2013 Borlaug Dialogue Highlights The Next Borlaug Century: Biotechnology, Sustainability and Climate Volatility

  • Headline speakers include Tony Blair, President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson of the Vatican
  • Panels will bring the world’s top experts together to delve into both sides of the biotech debate, and how our planet can confront climate volatility and grow food sustainably



Press Contact: Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications, The World Food Prize Foundation
515.245.3794 (direct), 515.229.1705 (cell), or
Des Moines, Iowa (Sept. 25, 2013) – Media registration is now open for what has been called the “premier conference in the world on global agriculture,” an increasingly critical issue as we confront feeding our burgeoning global population. Next month, Oct. 16-18, The World Food Prize will welcome to the stage three key world leaders: Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and leader of the Africa Governance Initiative; Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, current President of Iceland and a global leader in green energy; and Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the Holy See in the Vatican.
They will join over 1,000 of the world’s top international scientists, public policy experts, business and government leaders, and farmers from more than 65 countries during the 2013 Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa. This gathering has been hailed for attracting one of the most diverse arrays of people at any conference in the world.
The 2013 Borlaug Dialogue will focus on the theme, “The Next Borlaug Century: Biotechnology, Sustainability and Climate Volatility.” The conference will inaugurate the yearlong Borlaug Centennial, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Norman Borlaug, founder of the World Food Prize, Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the world’s most ardent advocates for ending hunger. On the occasion that we also celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA Double Helix, we will explore how the global food, agriculture and development communities can best harness the many tools and technologies available to feed our growing population in an increasingly volatile climate.
A full agenda and list of speakers is available at this link: Accredited members of the press are invited to attend. Please request media credentials by visiting All press must register by Oct. 9.
Key speakers:
  • Tony Blair, in his current role as Patron of the Africa Governance Initiative, will speak on a panel titled “40 Chances,” which represents the number of growing seasons that a farmer can expect during his or her lifetime. With the theme of “Redefining the Fight Against Hunger, Poverty and Suffering,” this panel will also include Howard G. Buffett, farmer and President of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and Ritu Sharma, founder and CEO of Women Thrive Worldwide. It will focus on the drivers of food security including aid effectiveness, trade, private sector investment, and technological innovation, and will also announce new joint programming designed to foster market-based solutions for addressing global challenges related to hunger, poverty, and conflict.
  • President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson of Iceland has identified the need to combat climate volatility as one of the most pressing current issues worldwide. He convened the Global Roundtable on Climate Change and has brought Iceland to the forefront of global green energy leadership.
  • Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson of Ghana has served as the President of the Roman Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since 2009. He has focused on the importance of addressing food security issues long-term by respecting the land and rural populations, and promoting agricultural development in poorer countries.
  • Just announced - Secretary’s Roundtable: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will host Mexican Minister of Agriculture Enrique Martínez y Martínez on stage.
  • The 2013 World Food Prize LaureatesMarc Van Montagu of Belgium, and Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States — will speak in multiple venues and will be honored during a ceremony at the magnificent Iowa State Capitol on Thursday evening, Oct. 17, for their independent, individual breakthrough achievements in founding, developing, and applying modern agricultural biotechnology.
Other experts from around the globe who will speak during the week:
  • Governmental leaders will include: Hon. Akin Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria; Hon. Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture, Liberia; and Hon. James Munthali, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Malawi.
  • Business leaders will include: Rob Aukerman, President of U.S. and Canada Operations, Elanco Animal Health; Brett Begemann, President and Chief Commercial Officer, Monsanto; Mark Kahn, Partner, Omnivore Capital; Ellen Kullman, Chair and CEO, DuPont; Chris Nelson, President and CEO, Kemin Industries; Andrea Thomas, Senior Vice President of Sustainability, Walmart; and Balram Singh Yadav, Managing Director, Godrej Agrovet Ltd.
  • International governmental organization leaders will include: Jomo Sunduram, Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Development Department, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; Juergen Voegele, Sector Director, Sustainable Development Network, The World Bank; and Ren Wang, Assistant Director-General, Consumer and Food Protection Department, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • Non-governmental organization leaders will include: Howard G. Buffett, President, Howard G. Buffett Foundation; Lisa Dreier, Director, Food Security and Development Initiatives, World Economic Forum; Chris Elias, President, Global Development Program, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Tim Hanstad, President and CEO, Landesa; Hans Herren, President, Millennium Institute; Mpule Kwelagobe, Executive Director, Network of Women Investing in Africa Leadership Program; Frances Moore Lappe, Author of Diet for a Small Planet and Co-founder, Small Planet Institute; Jacqueline Mkindi, Executive Director and CEO, Tanzania Horticultural Association; and Ritu Sharma, Co-Founder and President, Women Thrive Worldwide.
  • Scientists and academics will include: Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa; Jahi Chappell, Director of Agriculture Policy, Institute for Trade and Agriculture Policy (IATP); Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development, Imperial College, London; Sir Brian Heap, Professor, St. Edmund’s College; and Hermann Lotze-Campen, Co-Chair, Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities, Potsdam Institute for Climate Research.
ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE:  The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the World Food Prize has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. Thirty-nine laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Israel, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. The World Food Prize also annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, and several youth education programs including the Global Youth Institute and Borlaug-Ruan International Internship to inspire the next generation to explore careers in agriculture and food security.
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