The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

We All Have A Part To Play

By Denny Kelly
World Food Prize Hall of Laureates Docent

Like so many others who have had the honor, I remember the day that I met Norman Borlaug.

It was at a large group luncheon at the downtown Marriott during the busy week of the World Food Prize symposium. I knew his schedule was extremely full, but I walked over and extended my hand. With Norman, that's all it took.

He immediately stopped what he was doing and asked what my name was and what I do. He expressed his deep appreciation for what I was doing. I was a little confused; my mission was to thank him for helping to drastically change the world we all live in today.  At this point Norman was older, but I could still see the twinkle in his eye and feel the strength and tenacity of a wrestler's spirit--a spirit which served him so well throughout his amazing lifelong journey.

It's not very often that you get the opportunity to exchange conversation with a true American icon.  Visiting with someone who won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal makes for an exciting lifelong memory.

As a docent, when I greet visitors at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates I always ask myself, "What would Norman want these folks to walk away with?” The answer always seems to be: "If we all do our part, we can help alleviate suffering in the world.”

In its role as a convocation center open to the public for tours and events, the Hall of Laureates has evolved into the venue of choice for special gatherings and celebrations, as well as serving as the global epicenter of the struggle against hunger. The building is regularly open free of charge for visitors to tour and learn about Dr. Borlaug’s life and his legacy in fighting global hunger in the former Des Moines Public Library building. In 2018, the Hall of Laureates welcomed over 20,000 Iowans and guests from the United States and abroad.

During the year, the Hall of Laureates welcomes a broad spectrum of international, national, and regional organizations that chose to hold their events at this Iowa architectural landmark. Over 100 public open houses and private events with over 50 additional tours were held at the Hall, welcoming guests to experience this educational facility and public museum.

It's been a distinct pleasure and honor to share Norman's legacy with visitors from all over the world at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

I have deep admiration and appreciation for the Ruan family and Ambassador Quinn and his staff for the tremendous amount of time and energy they have spent capturing the true essence of Iowa-born "World Class" humanitarian: Norman Ernest Borlaug.


12/31/2018 8:00 AM |Add a comment |Comments (4)
Great points. The Hall of Laureates is an exceptional place that recognizes exceptional humanitarians. You remind us that it gives each of us the opportunity to put 'the twinkle in eye' of the next Borlaug, ... Quinn ... or ... Etta Budd.

Randy Renze | | 01/03/2019 11:01 AM
Great job! Terrific More than a summary of what we do -- you got to the heart of the matter.

Meredith McHone-Pierce | | 01/01/2019 1:05 PM
Well written Dennis, I liked the comment, "If we all do our part,...." It was a well stated answer.

Jody Beimer | | 12/31/2018 12:49 PM
Thank you, Dennis, for your thoughtful post - I have no doubt every visitor to the Hall of Laureates who has a chance to connect with you is inspired to do their part....

Susan Judkins | | | 12/31/2018 12:08 PM
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