The World Food Prize Foundation

World Food Prize Hosts Record Number of High Schools at Seventh Annual Iowa Youth Institute Held on April 30 at Iowa State University


The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute has engaged over 1,000 students from more than 225 schools across the state and has served as a national model for 24 other state youth institutes across the country, working to spark students’ interests for STEM and career paths in agriculture. This year IYI students will participate in unique interactive labs and network with Gov.  Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, President of Iowa State University Wendy Wintersteen and faculty and business leaders.

The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute at Iowa State University is a transformative experience for young high school student leaders across the state to share their innovative ideas for combatting hunger while also engaging with world-renowned experts in science, technology, policy, and agriculture. The Iowa Youth Institute will ring in its seventh year with 306 high school students and 139 teachers traveling from 134 Iowa high schools, a record number since the annual event was created in 2011.                                                                                                                                                    
On Monday, April 30, Iowa State University will welcome hundreds of students, teachers and experts to discuss the world’s most pressing issues in global food security. Students will also engage in hands-on immersion sessions on campus  that allow students to explore hunger-fighting education and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and math; ranging from plant genetics and human nutrition to environmental sustainability. This year’s keynote speakers include: Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg, President Wendy Wintersteen, and Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting Chief Scientist & REE Deputy Under Secretary at USDA, Ruth Acolatse, World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Alumni from Hoover High School.                                                            

To participate, each student is asked to research a challenge affecting food security in a developing country. They will then propose a solution and present their findings to a panel of peers and experts at the one day event.

“Iowa Youth Institute prepared me for a future in fighting hunger and poverty. It taught me that no matter your age, background or experience your ideas will be heard,” said Rachel Zumbach, an alumni from North Linn High School, now a student at Iowa State University.

Dr. Norman Borlaug, Iowa’s greatest humanitarian-hero, whose statue is now enshrined in the U.S. Capitol for his exceptional agricultural and humanitarian achievements, founded the World Food Prize in 1986. Dr. Borlaug envisioned the World Food Prize youth programs as a way to inspire the next generation of scientists, policy makers, educators, and community leaders to pursue careers fighting hunger and poverty at home and abroad.

“Norman Borlaug and John Ruan Sr. started the World Food Prize Youth Programs to inspire the next generation to become involved in our food system, and to have that spark of curiosity that will compel them to confront the greatest challenge in human history: whether we can sustainably and nutritiously feed the more than 9 billion people who will be on our planet by 2050,” said Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of The World Food Prize Foundation. The Ambassador added that, “The IYI is made possible by a generous personal financial support by Paul and Claudia Schickler, the commitment of Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen and the involvement of the leadership and faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “

Other World Food Prize youth programs also include the Global Youth Institute, the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship and the George Washington Carver College Internship program.

More information is available at

EVENT DETAILS: This year's Iowa Youth Institute will take place Monday, April 30, at Hilton Coliseum and the Scheman Center at Iowa State University in Ames; from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Media are invited to attend along with the public.


7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Student & Teacher Registration and Reception, Hilton Coliseum           

9:00 – 9:50 a.m. 
Welcome Session: Hilton Coliseum
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting Chief Scientist & REE Deputy Under Secretary of USDA

10:00 – 12:00 p.m.
Student Roundtable Discussion Groups: 1st and 2nd Floors, Scheman Building
Student Immersion Sessions, Iowa State Campus, Scheman Building

12:10 – 1:00 p.m.
Student Networking Luncheon: Hilton Coliseum

1:00 – 1:20 p.m. 
Luncheon Address: Hilton Coliseum
Luncheon Speaker: Governor Kim Reynolds & Lt. Governor Adam Gregg 

1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Student Roundtable Discussion Groups: 1st and 2nd Floors, Scheman Building
Student Immersion Sessions, Iowa State Campus, Scheman Building

3:40 – 4:00 p.m. 
Closing Session & Global Youth Institute Updates: Hilton Coliseum
Closing Address: Ruth Acolatse, GYI Alumna, Hoover High School

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Reception and Refreshments: Hilton Coliseum

WHERE: The Hilton Coliseum and the Scheman Center at Iowa State University, Ames and various laboratories across the campus. (Located at the corner of University and Lincoln Way; Enter from Center Drive.)

MEDIA DETAILS: Please check in at the registration desk at Hilton Coliseum (South Doors). Media are welcome to attend any and all parts of the day. Please RSVP with Nicole Barreca if you plan to attend the event.


Twitter: @TheNextNormIA and @WorldFoodPrize, using the hashtag #IYI18.
Instagram: @TheNextNormIA and @WorldFoodPrize
Facebook: /TheNextNormIA and /WorldFoodPrize

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 46 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.

ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE YOUTH PROGRAMS: 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 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 Fellowships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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