The World Food Prize Foundation

Media Details: Covering the Borlaug Centennial and Statue Unveiling

03/14/2014

American Hero Norman Borlaug’s Statue to be Unveiled in U.S. Capitol
Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Iowa Agricultural Scientist and Hunger Fighter Norman Borlaug will be celebrated on the 100th anniversary of his birth, National Ag Day

March 25, 2014, will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century: Dr. Norman Borlaug. In a rare historic moment, his statue will be unveiled and installed in the U.S. Capitol that day by his home state of Iowa, and the Borlaug Centennial will be celebrated around the world.

Dr. Borlaug is known as the “Father of The Green Revolution” and his development of "miracle wheat" and other agricultural innovations is credited with saving an estimated billion people around the world from hunger and starvation. He is the only American to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science, but is still virtually unknown. We invite you to cover this momentous occasion, or related stories, noting that Dr. Borlaug’s legacy and inspiration are needed now more than ever as we work to develop the next generation of scientific and agricultural leaders who can help feed our global population, which is estimated to reach 9 billion by the year 2050. In comparison, the Earth's population was only about 1.7 billion when Dr. Borlaug was born, 100 years ago.

Event Details:

Tuesday, March 25: The Borlaug Statue Dedication Ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. EDT on in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. 
Speaker of the House John Boehner and other congressional leaders, as well as Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and more will speak and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Borlaug. Media are invited and encouraged to attend. For Press Credentials to the Borlaug Statue Dedication Ceremony, contact the House: Radio/TV: 202.225.5214, Periodical/Print: 202.225.2941. The event will also be webcast at speaker.gov/live. A reception will follow in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center and credentialed press are welcome to attend; there will be brief remarks by additional people, including Dr. Borlaug’s family. More information about the Borlaug Statue, including materials for media, is at www.iowaborlaugstatue.org.  

Interview Availability:

  • Iowa Governor Terry Branstad: Contact Jimmy Centers, 515.725.3518
  • Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, Iowa Borlaug Statue Committee Chairman and President of Borlaug’s World Food Prize Foundation: Contact Megan Forgrave, 515-245-3794 (work) or 515-229-1705 (mobile)
  • Benjamin Victor, Sculptor: bvictor@benjaminvictor.com 
  • Others: Others available for interviews include Iowa Director of Cultural Affairs Mary Cownie, Iowa Director of Economic Development Debi Durham, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, members of the Borlaug Statue Committee, youth who have been inspired by Dr. Borlaug, and Iowa farmers.

Related Events:

  • On March 24, media are welcome to attend a press availability and welcome reception at the National Press Club. Press availability 5-5:30 p.m., Reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. with brief remarks at 6:15 p.m. RSVP to Jeff Morgan, 515-281-3858.
  • March 25 is National Ag Day and will be celebrated as such in Washington, D.C. More information is at www.agday.org.
  • USDA will host a special half-day symposium highlighting the future of agriculture and food security, featuring both CEOs and also young people involved in innovative research in high school, college or post-grad who are following Dr. Borlaug’s legacy. Many have gone through his World Food Prize youth programs. USDA Jefferson Auditorium, 2:30-5 p.m. Participants available for interviews. 
  • The U.S. Botanic Garden near the U.S. Capitol will hold special talks by artist Benjamin Victor on March 24 and about Dr. Borlaug on March 25, and will have a special wheat exhibit open for several months. www.usbg.gov
  • The Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security will take place at CIMMYT in Mexico, which is Borlaug’s original research institution, from March 24 to March 28 in Cuidad Obregon, Mexico. More at www.borlaug100.org.
  • Iowa will host several events in its capital city of Des Moines to celebrate Dr. Borlaug. The World Food Prize will host a full day of special events on March 25 at its Hall of Laureates, including a live webcast of the ceremony, meal packaging, cultural dances, artist talks, and access to the educational exhibits and Howard G. Buffett's international photography exhibit on hunger. (Details at www.worldfoodprize.org/visit) The State Historical Museum will also have a live webcast and will host a special agricultural artwork exhibit and an exhibit of antique tractors.
  • Social media campaign: The World Food Prize has launched an interactive Borlaug Centennial Map and is asking people around the world to post how they'll help fight hunger. High school student Maria Belding is leading the charge, and is truly inspiring, having published her own guide, "Fighting for Food: A Guide to Running Successful Food Drives In High Schools" that's being picked up by organizations nationally. Visit www.worldfoodprize.org/norm The site also includes ways you can help fight hunger.

Story Ideas:

  • The Inspiration and Process: The making of this statue has taken three years, an intense amount of work by the Borlaug Statue Committee, the artist, and legislative leaders, and a process that has involved working through the impressive list of 65 interested sculptors who bid on the project, gaining permission from the Nobel Committee to use the likeness of their medal, adding tiny details to the statue such as the specific type of wheat in the background and the university ring on Norm’s finger, and much more. Sculptor Benjamin Victor will be the youngest living artist with a statue in the U.S. Capitol, and the only living artist with two installed there.
  • Iowa’s Leadership in Agriculture and the Biosciences: Iowa has many cutting-edge developments underway, illustrating its great leadership in agriculture and the biosciences. For example, the state is creating a significant Ames-Des Moines corridor which will link its Land-Grant University researchers to to capital city, where businesses such as DuPont Pioneer are located. In addition, the Governor, Lt. Governor and business leaders are leading national STEM initiatives, to create models for the entire country to use to educate our students and build a strong workforce. Developing new technologies and methods to sustainably feed the world will be critical to our future.
  • Fighting Hunger: Norman Borlaug worked tirelessly to fight hunger. He created The World Food Prize to recognize and inspire breakthrough achievements in feeding the world, and it annually gathers the world’s greatest scientific experts, business leaders, farmers, and more to work on solutions to feed the 842 million people who are still hungry in our world. (More at www.worldfoodprize.org.) The CIMMYT research center in Mexico will also host a weeklong Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security the week of March 25. (More at www.borlaug100.org.) 
  • The Next Generation: Norman Borlaug’s legacy lives on through the next generation of students, researchers and hunger-fighters who are carrying on his work. Borlaug’s World Food Prize youth programs are shaping the paths of incredible young students who could very well be “the next Norman Borlaug.” Several will speak Tuesday afternoon at the USDA's special symposium on National Ag Day, focusing on continuing Dr. Borlaug's legacy.
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