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The Borlaug Blog

The Most Inspiring Week of 2018

By Marloes Ruiter
2018 Wageningen Borlaug Youth Institute Participant

If someone asked you to name the most inspiring moment of 2018, what would it be? The fact that my answer would be the Global Youth Institute in October wouldn’t surprise anyone who has ever participated in this life-changing week. But to mention the most inspiring moment of that week is a much harder question.

One of the things I could name was the breakfast on Friday morning, when I was sitting next to Norman Borlaug’s daughter Jeanie Borlaug-Laube or the round table session with the Hon. Ruth Oniang’o, who I also happened to have lunch with. Another moment I might choose was listening to the speech of the Vice President of Peru, Mercedez Aráoz.

But one thing made the greatest impression on me: the speeches of the 2018 World Food Prize Laureates, David Nabarro and Lawrence Haddad, to all the participants of the Global Youth Institute on Saturday morning. In their speeches, they told us about their lives and the lessons life taught them. They also told us to follow our goals and not give up. Hearing that from these two men who definitely succeeded in following their goals was so powerful. They really meant what they said, and they believed in us: the next generation. These speeches really made me realize that I will try everything to fulfill my potential.. Their speeches enchanted me and was definitely my most inspiring moment of this year.

But how did I, a nineteen year old student from the Netherlands, make it to this unique experience? Let me introduce myself. My name is Marloes Ruiter, and I grew up on a farm, so when I arrived in Iowa, I immediately felt at home. This September, I started studying Health and Society at Wageningen University. The study mainly focuses on public health and I am really enjoying it. But my first study day wasn’t the first time I entered a lecture room at Wageningen.

The road I followed to get to Des Moines was a very interesting one. In the Netherlands, every student must do an experiment or investigation and write a paper about it during our last year of high school. Together with three other students from my school, I chose to study how seaweed can contribute to ending world hunger. During our experiment, we studied what circumstances seaweed grows the best in. The result was that seaweed can grow under very wide circumstances, which makes it very suitable to grow in seas anywhere around the world, which makes it available for lots of people. With our paper we applied to join the very first edition of the Wageningen Borlaug Youth Institute, and we won! We had to adapt our team paper into four different ones, all focused on different countries, and we presented those papers in Des Moines.

As I mentioned before, I am studying Health and Society in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The key of my study is an integral approach to significant health problems, such as obesity. My study includes subjects about sociology and psychology but also about economy and nutrition. The study really focuses on the way in which we can improve our public health by working together. It is about all different sectors, because health is not affected by just your genetic properties, or only by your lifestyle, and not only by the quality of your circumstances. Health is a combination of all these different aspects and more.

I think this integral approach is also very important to solving the world food challenge. This problem cannot only be solved by improving farming methods, or by making people more aware of food security and quality and not even only by increasing the food production. It is a combination of all different aspects that eventually will solve the world food problem. And it’s a common effort we should all be working on. Having been inspired by the 2018 World Food Prize Laureates, and all others present at the most inspiring week of 2018, I am committed to contributing to that common effort. Together we will solve the world food challenge!

As the 2018 World Food Prize Laureates already told us, we are capable of ending world hunger. We are the next generation, and by coming together, just like all different aspects of my study came together, we can end this complex problem. We have the knowledge, the skills, the opportunities; as long as we work together, we can achieve our goals. Using all the new knowledge we learn, we have all the resources to decrease world hunger. As long as we work together as one generation: the next generation.

11/19/2018 8:00 AM |Add a comment
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