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World Food Prize President Ambassador Quinn Meets Pope Francis: Encourages Iowa Visit




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Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn can be contacted in Israel, where he is now traveling, through his U.S. mobile phone (+1.515.240.8971) or by email at

World Food Prize President Ambassador Quinn Meets Pope Francis: Encourages Iowa Visit

Rome, Italy (May 27, 2015) - His Holiness Pope Francis graciously received World Food Prize president, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn on May 21, while the Ambassador was in Rome to meet with heads of the United Nations Food Agencies and deliver the keynote address at a conference organized by the International Food Information Council.

In their conversation, which also included his wife Le Son Quinn and His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Ambassador said that he explained his role as public security coordinator for the 1979 visit to Des Moines of Pope John Paul II, and described the power of that Pope's call for food production to feed the millions and millions who are hungry.

Noting the role of its founder, Dr. Norman Borlaug, in fighting hunger, the Ambassador next recalled for Pope Francis the invitation recently extended to him by the World Food Prize for His Holiness to come to Iowa and issue a similar Papal message that would be heard around the globe about the great challenge the world faces in feeding the more than nine billion people who will be on our planet by mid-century.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad sent a letter formally supporting the World Food Prize invitation and formally welcoming Pope Francis to Iowa. Both the Governor's letter and the World Food Prize invitation were conveyed to the Vatican by Des Moines Catholic Bishop Richard Pates.

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Ambassador Quinn commented that when hearing him say, "Iowa," Pope Francis broke into a big smile and commented "Iowa, it is so far away!" The Ambassador said he hopes that when the Holy Father visits the United States in September, he will realize that Iowa is just a short flight from the East Coast, and will accept our invitation.

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana is Head of the Vatican Peace and Justice Council and delivered a keynote address at the World Food Prize in 2013.

During his week in Rome, Ambassador Quinn also met with:  Dr. Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization; Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme; and Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. In addition, he visited the US Pavilion at the EXPO Milano 2015 in Milan, and attended the briefing by the Economist Intelligence Unit about its 2015 The Global Food Security Index organized by DuPont and featuring an address by DuPont Senior Vice President Jim Borel.

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Dr. Kenneth M. Quinn, former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, assumed the leadership of The World Food Prize Foundation on January 1, 2000, following his retirement from the State Department after a 32 year career in the Foreign Service. For his full bio, please visit


 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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