At a special ceremony at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines today, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was presented the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion by World Food Prize Foundation president Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn.
Ambassador Quinn explained that the Borlaug Medallion, which was created to recognize institutions not eligible to receive the World Food Prize itself, was being presented to "honor the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its extraordinary development and promotion of American farming for over 150 years. “In the 10,000 year history of human agriculture, there is arguably no other organization that has done more to expand the knowledge of, and enhance the science involved in, food production than the USDA," the Ambassador stated.
Ambassador Quinn went on to say that he was particularly pleased to present the medallion to Secretary Vilsack, one of the longest serving secretaries of agriculture in American history. In addition, the Secretary had a very special relationship with Dr. Borlaug, and “is deserving of special recognition for all he has done as Governor of Iowa and Secretary of Agriculture to preserve the Borlaug legacy, promote the World Food Prize and especially help inspire the next generation of young agricultural leaders, a mission dear to Borlaug's heart.”
At the ceremony, Vilsack and Quinn also signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the partnership of the World Food Prize and USDA and by extending the Wallace-Carver Fellowship program through 2021.
It was Secretary Vilsack's vision to identify, educate and inspire the next generation of great scientific and agricultural leaders by partnering with the World Food Prize to create the Wallace-Carver Fellowship program. A central feature of the fellowship is a capstone leadership symposium in Washington, D.C. where the students have the opportunity to interact with the Secretary and senior government officials.
The Washington Leadership Symposium is an opportunity for the fellows to examine key domestic and global challenges, and explore the exciting opportunities available to impact agriculture, the economy, human health and nutrition, the environment, and scientific research through public service.
Wallace-Carver Fellows have the opportunity to take part in groundbreaking field and laboratory-based research; analyze agricultural and economic policy and; assist in the management of food, nutrition, rural development and environmental conservation programs.
Since its inception in 2011, 151 students have served as Wallace-Carver Fellows.
In the past, The Dr. Norman Borlaug Medallion 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; the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in the United States; CIMMYT; Texas A & M University; and most recently the University of Minnesota. Details about the World Food Prize Borlaug Medallion and a downloadable image of it are available online at www.worldfoodprize.org/borlaugmedallion.
ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE: 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 41 outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. The World Food Prize annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium and a variety of youth education programs to help further the discussion on cutting-edge global food security issues and inspire the next generation to end hunger.
Nicole Barreca, Director of Communications and Events
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