The agricultural scientist and hunger fighter is credited with saving more lives than anyone who has ever lived. Other global celebrations in Mexico, Washington DC, Iowa.
(Des Moines, Iowa) March 25, 2014 – Dr. Norman E. Borlaug’s statue will be installed today at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on what would have been the great agricultural scientist’s 100th birthday. The leadership of the United States Congress, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Governor Terry E. Branstad of Borlaug’s home state of Iowa, and Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, who chaired the Borlaug Statue Committee, will be part of the ceremony at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. (Live webcast at speaker.gov/live)
Every state in the United States is permitted two statues of notable citizens to represent it in the nation’s capitol building; Iowa leaders voted to return another statue and add Borlaug, which will be especially fitting as March 25 is celebrated as National Agriculture Day, and Iowa celebrates its leadership in agriculture and the biosciences.
Borlaug dedicated his life to breeding better varieties of wheat, and worked with farmers, scientists, politicians and others to improve agricultural methods and policies to alleviate hunger and malnutrition worldwide. His achievements earned him recognition as “Father of the Green Revolution” and the distinction of being the only American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and the National Medal of Science.
“This is a historic event for the State of Iowa and a celebration of our role in feeding the world,” Gov. Branstad said. “Dr. Borlaug is credited with saving an estimated one billion people around the world from hunger and starvation, so it’s fitting that we honor this Cresco, Iowa native and great American hero for his extraordinary agricultural achievements on the 100th anniversary of his birth and National Agriculture Day.”
“The unveiling of Norman E. Borlaug’s statue is a proud moment for our state and all Iowans,” said Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. “Visitors to the United States Capitol will now have an opportunity to see his statue and learn more about his remarkable achievements and our state’s leadership in agriculture, biosciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.”
“I spent a decade working with Dr. Borlaug and he was the most humble, hard-working and inspiring person I have ever known,” said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of Borlaug’s World Food Prize Foundation and chairman of the Borlaug Statue Committee. “Today’s unveiling not only honors him and our state, but also will be a monument to American agricultural achievement in our nation's capitol that will inspire a new generation to carry on his legacy of agricultural innovation to ensure we have enough nutritious food for all.”
Today’s Statue Dedication Ceremony at 11 a.m. EDT will be webcast live at speaker.gov/live and will include remarks by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), along with remarks by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, members of the Iowa congressional delegation, Gov. Branstad and Quinn, who is also president of Borlaug’s World Food Prize Foundation. Statue artist Benjamin Victor of South Dakota will also be in attendance.
Other events are taking place around the globe to honor Dr. Borlaug, including:
In Mexico, the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative is hosting a technical workshop March 22-25; the Association for Agricultural Research and Experimentation of the State of Sonora will with CIMMYT host a Field Day and Birthday Celebration on March 25; and CIMMYT will host the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security March 25-28. The World Food Prize will present its Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion to CIMMYT, which was Dr. Borlaug’s research institute in Mexico.
CIMMYT, in conjunction with Biofortified, has also created a music video compilation featuring Norman Borlaug and some of his signature phrases, fiery outlook, and passion for using science to make the world a less hungry place. Press release at this link.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will host a Borlaug Symposium this afternoon focusing on the next generation of agricultural scientists who will lead food production and the fight to end hunger. The symposium will feature several World Food Prize interns and will take place at the USDA Jefferson Auditorium in Washington, D.C. from 2:30 to 5 p.m.
The World Food Prize will host free events all day at its Hall of Laureates in Downtown Des Moines. Watch a webcast of the Statue Unveiling Ceremony, help package meals to feed hungry people, enjoy children's storytimes, tour the building with Iowa artists who have studied and painted Borlaug, explore interactive educational exhibits about Dr. Borlaug, watch a documentary about him, view Howard G. Buffett's international photography exhibit, and see cultural dances at 6 p.m. from the regions of the world in which Dr. Borlaug worked: Mexico, India and Africa. Full schedule will be updated at www.worldfoodprize.org/visit.
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