Norm Borlaug and The World Food Prize From My Foxhole
Several months ago, as a member of the United States Global Leadership Coalition’s National Security Advisory Council, I had the privilege of participating on a panel during the Borlaug Dialogue and attending the 2018 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony and dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. To have been a part of this wonderful week and have interacted with so many notables from around the globe, all reflecting on and supportive of the goals and objectives of Dr. Norman Borlaug, was inspirational. Dr. Borlaug’s “Green Revolution,” which was a term used to describe the plethora of global initiatives he spearheaded leading to massive increases in food production and quality, gained him unsung notoriety, but importantly his recognition as the man responsible for feeding more people around the world than any other. Because of the approach and techniques fostered by Dr. Borlaug in food production and agriculture, those initiatives are cited as saving over a billion people around the world. And importantly, his contributions are equally recognized as enhancing world peace due to the increased food production.
During the Borlaug Dialogue, I was asked to comment on the importance of food as a component or factor leading to security based on all that I had observed during my decades of military service. Since the early 1990s until 2011 during deployments to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, I witnessed first-hand that the lack of adequate and nutritious food was a major driver of instability and a threat to security for regions as well as entire nations, and indeed, the global commons. Therefore, providing my insights and observations and having a discussion of the value of adequate and nutritious food for the people of the world was a privilege. And that I was able to have this discussion with others equally committed to reinforcing the work that Dr. Borlaug advanced over his distinguished life and career was an honor.
Attending the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony and being exposed to the achievements of the world’s most notable agriculturalists was and is a tremendous exclamation point to all that Dr. Borlaug started and is now carried on so magnificently by Ambassador Ken Quinn and the World Food Prize Foundation. The nexus between food and peace is undeniable. Food, nutrition and security are three legs of the stool. That the Borlaug Dialogue and the World Food Prize Foundation continues to highlight this and places it in an appropriate place of honor on the global stage is more than commendable, it is essential. As Dr. Norman Borlaug was recognized for his work by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal places him in a truly unique category as one who has received these three high honors.
All who continue to promote the importance of advancing work in increased food production and higher nutritional yields do this work inspired by Dr. Norman Borlaug. And as he was dedicated and committed to this cause throughout his life, applying his methods to increase food production in the Americas, Asia and Africa, those who continue to do so today are to be commended. While not an agriculturalist, as a Soldier, a father and a grandfather, my concern and hopes for a safe and stable world leads me to continue advocating for food security. Therefore it is a pleasure, and I consider it my duty, to speak to the importance and adequacy of nutritional food stocks as a component of stable societies. I believe we all agree that peace is good. And since that is the case, promoting all that is represented by our continuing focus on enhanced food security and higher nutritional crop yields is a common goal – just as Norman Borlaug demonstrated.