The World Food Prize Foundation

The World Food Prize Selects a Record 23 High School Students for Prestigious International Internship


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The World Food Prize Selects a Record 23 High School Students for Prestigious International Internship
Students from Iowa and across the country will go abroad this summer to gain firsthand experience at an international research center, working to alleviate global hunger.

Des Moines, Iowa (May 6, 2015) – The World Food Prize Foundation announced today that it will send a record 23 high school students abroad for internships at renowned international research centers and NGOs this summer. The students hail from 10 states and will delve into issues relating to hunger and poverty during eight-week, all-expenses-paid internships in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The program was created by Dr. Norman Borlaug and John Ruan, Sr., as a way to inspire the next generation of agricultural scientists and to expose them to the wide array of fields related to global food security. The program has grown significantly over the past 18 years, initially sending just two students overseas the first year. Over the years, 250 young people have participated in the internship.

Nearly 1 billion people go hungry every day. As the world faces a growing population, climate volatility and other global challenges, the next generation will be charged with continuing the battle against hunger and finding new solutions to feed the world.

“It was our founder, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug's most ardent hope that by engaging these young people in actual hunger-fighting research, they will be inspired to pursue academic and career paths in science, food, agricultural and natural resource disciplines, and thus prepared to become tomorrow’s innovative scientific and humanitarian leaders,” said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize.

The Borlaug-Ruan Internship is a unique program that allows student interns to participate in projects with distinguished researchers at leading agricultural research centers around the globe. While getting a firsthand view of real and pressing food security issues and nutrition problems in poverty-stricken areas, the students become an integral part of a project, spending time in the lab as well as days or weeks at a time in the field conducting research and interviews, and gathering data.

The interns are involved in a myriad of global projects dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger such as: fisheries and aquaculture studies; plant biotechnology research; micro-credit and the women’s self-help concept; the influence of education on household food security; livestock value chains; and the calculation of Vitamin C concentration in numerous potato varieties.  

A prerequisite for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship is attending the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, which occurs each October and exposes students to opportunities associated with careers in agricultural, natural resource, life sciences and affiliated fields.  Youth Institute participants present research papers and interact with World Food Prize Laureates and renowned experts to discuss issues relating to food security throughout the world. 

A list of the 23 Borlaug-Ruan International Interns, including photos, can be found online at:  

The World Food Prize holds statewide youth institutes in several states to inspire young people to continue the legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug and fight hunger by pursuing educational and career paths in global agriculture; the goal is to eventually have every school in our home state of Iowa participate. The top students each year and others from around the country are invited to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in October, where they participate in other World Food Prize events such as the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, which annually draws 1,200 people from 65 countries, and the Laureate Award Ceremony. There, youth interact with experts, participate in hunger relief programs and activities, and present their research findings to peers and global leaders. Over 20 students from the programs each year are then selected as Borlaug-Ruan International Interns, and are sent on all-expenses-paid, eight-week internships at research centers in Asia, Africa, Latin American and the Middle East. Finally, students who participate in the World Food Prize youth programs are also eligible to apply for Wallace-Carver internships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The World Food 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 to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. The World Food Prize Foundation is based in Des Moines, Iowa, in the United States. 

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