The World Food Prize Foundation

The World Food Prize Honors CIMMYT with Borlaug Medallion as part of Norman Borlaug Centennial Celebration


International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center carries forward Borlaug’s legacy at the forefront of agricultural research

Ciudad Obregón, Mexico (March 27, 2014) – The World Food Prize Foundation awarded its Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) today. 

The award, given for only the fifth time in history, was presented during a ceremony on Thursday evening at the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security in Ciudad Obregón, Mexico. Leaders from around the globe have gathered for a full week of events focused on the future of wheat for food security in honor of Dr. Borlaug, the great agricultural scientist. Events have been occurring around the world this week in honor of the 100th anniversary of Borlaug’s birth; on Tuesday, The World Food Prize, which Borlaug founded, was part of a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where the State of Iowa unveiled a statue of Dr. Borlaug in Statuary Hall. 

Norman Borlaug created The World Food Prize, and carefully structured it as an award to recognize individual achievements in increasing the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world. It is now commonly referred to as the "Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.” The Borlaug Medallion honors those organizations and heads of state who would not ordinarily be eligible for The World Food Prize, but who have made an especially noteworthy contribution to improving the world’s food supply and ensuring adequate nutrition. 

The Borlaug Medallion was presented by visiting representatives of The World Food Prize, including Sir Gordon Conway and Dr. Ronnie Coffman, who are members of the Council of Advisors; Laureates Dr. Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Dr. Robb Fraley; Lisa Fleming, director of global education programs; and Julie Borlaug, the granddaughter of Dr. Borlaug. The award was accepted by Dr. Marianne Bänziger, CIMMYT's deputy director general for research and partnerships.

"As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug, it is most fitting that the World Food Prize Dr. Norman Borlaug Medallion be presented to CIMMYT, the research institution that grew from Norm's own personal work in Mexico 60 years ago, which was the scientific impetus from which the Green Revolution emanated," said Kenneth M. Quinn, president of The World Food Prize. "I know this great organization and its accomplishments will continue to serve as an inspiration to the next generation of agriculturalists and hunger fighters in the decades ahead."

Through applied breeding work with Mexican farmers and scientists in the 1940s and ‘50s, Dr. Borlaug, who passed away in September 2009, developed high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties and farming practices that were adopted throughout the developing world, saving a billion people from starvation. Borlaug received the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for “providing bread to a hungry world,” and is the only American ever to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and the National Medal of Science.

“Dr. Borlaug’s legacy and inspiration is needed now more than ever as we look ahead at the challenge of feeding over 9 billion people on our planet by the year 2050. CIMMYT is truly a leader in the research necessary to meet that challenge,” Quinn said.

In the past, this award has been presented to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; the Sasakawa Family and its Nippon Foundation of Japan; Kofi Annan for his leadership of the United Nations; and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in the United States. Details about the World Food Prize Borlaug Medallion and a downloadable image of it are available online at

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 fighting hunger. More at

Headquartered in Mexico, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is the global leader in research for development in wheat and maize and wheat- and maize-based farming systems. CIMMYT works throughout the developing world with hundreds of partners to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to improve global food security and livelihoods.
Improved, CIMMYT-derived wheat is sown on more than 60 million hectares in developing countries – over 70 percent of the spring wheat area planted with modern wheat varieties in those nations. These wheat varieties are responsible for bigger harvests that bring annual added benefits to farmers of at least US $500 million.
CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium and leads the Consortium Research Program WHEAT and receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies. For more information about CIMMYT, please visit

Press Contacts: 
Megan Forgrave, World Food Prize Director of Communications: 515.245.3794 (work), 515.229.1705 (mobile)
Scott Mall, CIMMYT Director of Communications: +1 404-988-5900 (mobile)
Emma Quilligan, CIMMYT: +52 1 5951069307 

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