The World Food Prize Foundation

Leadership Evolution Signals Significant Growth of World Food Prize Youth Education Programs


The World Food Prize Foundation announced today the realignment of its youth education program leadership reflecting the growth and expansion of its innovative programs in global food security for high school students.

Effective today, current Director of Global Education Programs, Lisa Fleming, will become the Director of International Internships and Career Development. The current Director of Iowa Education Programs, Kelsey Tyrrell, will become the Director of Global Education Programs while maintaining her current duties managing the Iowa Youth Institute (IYI).

Ms. Fleming, a dedicated member of the World Food Prize staff since 2001, has overseen a period of extensive growth. She developed the Global Youth Institute (GYI) program and has worked to ensure participation of several thousand high school students during her tenure. To date she has successfully directed 266 high school Borlaug-Ruan International Interns as they have embarked on summer assignments working with leading research scientists at 34 renowned research centers and institutions in 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

World Food Prize President Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn expressed his admiration for Ms. Fleming’s work over the past 17 years in directing both the GYI and the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program. He commended her for “significantly increasing program participation, quality, and operational execution, resulting in an enhanced visibility for the programs with increased community awareness and support.”

He noted that with the five-fold increase in the number of participants, and the increased challenge of supervising a large number of interns in assignments in foreign countries, it was essential to have the Borlaug-Ruan Internship director focus full-time attention on high school age students fulfilling internships around the world. In addition, Ms. Fleming will expand the Foundation’s efforts to strengthen relationships with youth program graduates and support them in terms of career development. 

Ms. Tyrrell, a former World Food Prize George Washington Carver Intern, joined the Foundation staff in 2016 to direct the IYI which annually attracts over 500 Iowa high school students and teachers to a day-long program at Iowa State University which emphasizes STEM subjects and agricultural science in fighting hunger and poverty world-wide. 

Ambassador Quinn commented that “Ms. Tyrrell was chosen for the IYI position from more than 40 applicants. In addition to her role directing that program, Ms. Tyrrell will now be responsible for the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute (GYI) which takes place each October in conjunction with the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium. “Her superb organizational skills and experience make her the ideal person to take on these significantly expanded responsibilities,” he said.

During the GYI, approximately 200 students and a like number of teachers from over 30 states and territories and several foreign countries participate in the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium and associated events. They are immersed in an exchange of ideas with the world’s top agricultural experts, research scientists, industry leaders and heads of state leading the fight against hunger.  Students who participate in the three-day GYI can then apply to become a Borlaug-Ruan International Intern. 

Initiated in 1994 with just 14 Iowa students, the World Food Prize Youth Institute and its extended education programming have expanded nationally and grown to be recognized as among the most innovative in the world. The wide array of programs, with young women making up two-thirds of the participants, aim to educate and inspire the next generation of scientific and humanitarian leaders to alleviate hunger and ensure global food security.

In addition to the programs supervised by Ms. Fleming and Ms. Tyrrell, the World Food Prize staff also coordinates 20 other state youth institutes, modeled after the IYI, as well as the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship program George Washington Carver internship program for college-aged students.

Ambassador Quinn expressed confidence that “this realignment will increase the management oversight and effectiveness of the Foundation’s youth education endeavors, and provide an enhanced learning experience for all students involved.”

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 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 State Youth Institutes, the Global Youth Institute, the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, and the USDA Wallace-Carver Internship to inspire the next generation to explore careers in agriculture and fighting hunger.

Press Contact:
Nicole Barreca, Director of Communications and Events
515-245-3735 or by email at

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