The World Food Prize Foundation

2014 Borlaug Dialogue Focuses On Greatest Challenge in Human History


Concluding the Norman Borlaug Centennial Year, experts will explore the question of whether we can sustainably feed the 9 billion people who will be on our planet by the year 2050.

Press Contact: 
Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications 
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Des Moines, Iowa (June 18, 2014) – The World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue international symposium will this year pay tribute to its founder, Dr. Norman Borlaug, during the 100th anniversary year of his birth, and will forecast ahead to the next century as we face the critical challenge of sustainably feeding our growing population. The Dialogue will give special emphasis to the powers of intensification, innovation and inspiration to uplift smallholder farmers and meet the increasing demand for nutritious food.

The Borlaug Dialogue, which has been called “the premier conference in the world on global agriculture” annually gathers some of the world’s top scientific and agricultural experts in the world to discuss cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition. The three-day conference convenes a wide array of scientific experts, policy leaders, business executives and farmers, and brings together over 1,200 people from more than 65 countries.

This year’s Borlaug Dialogue will be held October 15-17, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Events this year will include:

  • A keynote address by the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma. President Koroma will also be part of the announcing of the four 40 Chances Fellows, individuals under age 40 who have been selected to each receive $150,000 to implement market and social entrepreneurship projects that fight hunger, conflict or poverty in Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Malawi, through a program created by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Tony Blair’s African Governance Initiative, and The World Food Prize. 
  • His Excellency Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, United States
  • His Excellency Enrique Martinez y Martinez, Secretary of Agriculture, Mexico
  • Her Excellency Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture, Liberia

Topics this year will highlight a focus on farmers, in light of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s Year of the Family Farmer and will include:

  • taking stock of where we currently stand in meeting the "greatest challenge in human history" 
  • closing yield gaps while addressing pressing water, gender and nutrition challenges and disparities
  • the role of information technology and data to increase productivity, conserve the environment, adapt to climate volatility and consumer needs, and improve the lives of farmers and other participants along the value chain
  • sustainable intensification to improve productivity with a special focus on soils and fertilizers
  • innovations in insurance and agrofinancing
  • and the role of the next generation in the fight against hunger through the DialogueNEXT conversation that features young innovators and thought leaders who are contributing new ideas, concepts and achievements toward this goal.    

Additional events surrounding the 2014 Borlaug Dialogue will include: 

  • 2014 Iowa Hunger Summit, October 14. A free one-day, grassroots event for individuals and organizations working to alleviate hunger at home and abroad. 
  • 2014 Award Ceremony: The Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation, October 15. The third annual $10,000 award will honor an individual under the age of 40 who emulates Dr. Norman Borlaug’s incredible dedication to field research and application. Nominations are sought through June 30.
  • 40 Chances Fellows Introduction, October 16. Last October, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Howard G. Buffett and World Food Prize President Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn announced the 40 Chances Fellows program to encourage social enterprise initiatives to reduce food insecurity, conflict or poverty in Rwanda, Malawi, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This October, the President of Sierra Leone, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, will join us as we introduce the four young entrepreneurs who will be awarded $150,000 each to implement their plans.
  • 2014 Laureate Award Ceremony, October 16. Over 800 honored guests will gather as this year’s laureate, Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, is honored and officially awarded the World Food Prize at a ceremony and dinner in the magnificent Iowa State Capitol. Learn more about Dr. Rajaram at 
  • 20th Anniversary World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, October 18. Over 140 high school students and their teachers from across the country will gather to present papers on food security solutions, work with experts and laureates, and participate in interactive activities and field visits. The goal of this program is to inspire the next generation of agricultural scientists and humanitarians.

Registration for the Borlaug Dialogue is now open at A full agenda and speaker list will be posted soon at

THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE was created in 1987 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, and is the foremost international award recognizing individuals whose achievements have advanced human development by increasing the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The prize was endowed by John Ruan, Sr. Continuing his legacy, Iowa businessman John Ruan III now serves as chairman of the organization. A Selection Committee of experts from around the world oversees the nomination and selection process, and is chaired by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan of India, who was also honored as the first World Food Prize Laureate. The World Food Prize annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, which draws over 1,000 people from 65 countries to discuss cutting-edge issues in food security, and several youth education programs to inspire the next generation to explore careers in agriculture and fighting hunger.

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