The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

Changing the World, One Tweet at a Time

By Melanie Van Horn
2018 George Washington Carver Intern

Walking into the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates for the first time was a breathtaking experience for me, a young college student starting her first professional internship. The high ceilings and spacious ballrooms enveloped me as I entered, and a wide stone staircase flanked by two enormous pillars guided me toward a wall-to-wall stained-glass window that filtered in the afternoon sun. All I could think was how did I get lucky enough to work in the most beautiful building in Iowa?

But the physical beauty of the building wasn’t the only thing that captured my attention. When I tilted my head up slightly, I read a single quote etched on the wall above from World Food Prize founder Norman Borlaug, which said, “Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” His words were enough to convince me that interning here would change my perspective and my life in ways that I could never expect.

Before interning at the World Food Prize, I didn’t know much about food insecurity and world hunger, aside from the fact that these pressing issues had no easy solution. But when I began working as the George Washington Carver social media and writing intern, my world collided with those who devote their entire lives to ending hunger and food insecurity, just as Norman Borlaug did.

While working as the social media intern, I wrote daily social media posts about food security, agriculture, and global issues and engaged with others who were posting about the mission of the World Food Prize. I also created posts for social media kits and wrote numerous press releases, including 30 individual releases that highlighted interns who were selected for the prestigious Wallace-Carver Internship.

One of my favorite experiences as an intern was working on the morning of the Laureate Announcement Ceremony. The names of the winners were embargoed before the announcement ceremony, so my fellow communications interns and I waited on the edge of our seats to post the winners the moment their names were revealed. I remember getting the “all-clear” text saying that we could release the names, and my fellow interns and I raced to post the names of the Laureates across all social media platforms.

As we announced Lawrence Haddad and David Nabarro as our 2018 Laureates, I was overwhelmed with a variety of emotions. I was proud of the work we were doing and the humanitarian heroes we were celebrating. I was excited to finally share the Laureates with the world after months of keeping the names a secret. Most of all, I couldn’t believe that posting something as simple as names could feel so empowering.

It can be difficult to know if social media posts really impact the world. Does a like on a post or a retweet matter to the 815 million people who face hunger and malnutrition every day?

But on that day, I watched people around the world unite on social media to celebrate our 2018 Laureates, two individuals who had devoted their lives to the cause of food security and risen to the greatest challenge our world faces. Sitting behind the monitor of a computer screen on the third floor of the Hall of Laureates, I realized I was part of a global movement toward a world where no one will face hunger or malnutrition.

The theme of this year’s Borlaug Dialogue is “Rise to the Challenge.” Through my experiences at the World Food Prize, I learned that there are thousands of people who are doing this very thing – committing their minds, resources, and actions to rise to the global challenge of nourishing the world. Though I am not a scientist creating a new hybrid crop or a policy-maker creating laws to aid food security, I can still rise to the challenge in my own life. Who knows – maybe a tweet really can change the world.


10/01/2018 8:00 AM |Add a comment |Comments (2)
Getting the word out is imperative. Only knowledge will inspire us to act!

Jennifer Knox | | 11/13/2018 3:40 PM
Tweets, or rather social meɗia can anɗ have changeɗ the worlɗ. I rememɓer a time in Kenya, a certin region of our Country faced starvation and a hashtag dabbed #KenyansForKenyans ɗrove a strong campaign and inɗeeɗ thousands of lives were saved.

Michael M. Mugenɗy | | 10/01/2018 9:46 PM
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