The World Food Prize Foundation

The President's Blog

New Presidency in the Time of COVID-19: World Food Prize Foundation Response


Turns out that January 6 was an auspicious day to begin a new job. Taking on leadership of the Foundation was going to be challenging regardless, but doing so at the onset of a global pandemic? Unimaginable! Fortunately, the capable staff and prior work of WFPF created a platform that can respond and deliver. Already, we have offered multiple on-line WFPF Youth Institutes, with our partners at Wageningen University and North Carolina State University. The WFPF Team is working at home, as are most, striving to stay connected and offer support to our partners in these challenging times.

Thanks to the almost 500 people across the globe who answered our 2020 Partnership Survey. And, we greatly appreciate the advice and guidance of our esteemed Board of Directors and Council of Advisors in a recent video teleconference.


Today, the World Food Prize Foundation is pleased to offer a number of announcements about 2020:

  1. 2020 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony - Even in this time of global challenges, WFPF will proceed with the annual announcement of another esteemed Laureate, our 50th Laureate. This year's announcement will be offered virtually during the usual period of late spring/early summer. We look forward to recognizing the accomplishments of another exceptional individual working to increase the quality, quantity and availability of food for all!
  2. WFPF Digital Dialogue Series - In this time of virtual learning, WFPF announces a series of on-line explorations and discussions with past Laureates and key experts. Over the next 3 months, beginning the week of April 13, we will conduct a number of dialogue sessions, the initial one addressing pressing challenges to resilience in the food system in the time of COVID-19. Over the series, we will address the components of a resilient global food system, along with the current and long-term vulnerabilities, engaging global leaders, youth leaders and other experts. Watch for specific invitations to register for the series.
  3. Iowa and Other State/National Youth Institutes On-line - All of our planned Institutes, more than twenty around the nation and abroad, are being successfully transitioned online working with our partners. We plan to continue to develop the skills, knowledge and connections of a pipeline of young people interested in addressing global challenges into the future. The schedule of events can be found HERE, in case you might wish to serve as an expert or recommend a budding Hunger Fighter to participate in their area.
  4. 2020 World Food Prize Foundation Annual Week of Events - Whether in-person or online, the World Food Prize Foundation will conduct the annual International Borlaug Dialogue and the Laureate Award Ceremony. This year we will honor our 50th Laureate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Norm Borlaug receiving the Nobel Peace Prize! Again, impressive youth and young professionals from around the world will participate in the Global Youth Institute. HOLD these dates on your calendar: October 14 - 16, 2020 for the International Borlaug Dialogue, and Monday, October 12 for the Iowa Hunger Summit.

Coronavirus willing, we will host an in-person global gathering full of innovations and in-depth discussions in different venues in Des Moines, IA. If not, we will continue our progression of discussions and offer productive engagement on critical topics to address resilience and the vulnerabilities of the global food system. 


In February, we received diverse and meaningful feedback from our Partner Survey. Energized by the wide variety of suggestions, we appreciated the honest feedback from our partners. A clear strength of WFPF is its ability to bring diverse stakeholders to the table. Whether through our Dialogue, youth programs, the Iowa Hunger Summit, or our Hall of Laureates museum and event venue, we are uniquely situated to bring together all sectors on the pressing issues facing global food and agriculture. 
TOP TWELVE: Stakeholders consistently recommend that we expand our impact and modernize our programming. Many respondents urged conducting more events throughout the year, better promoting the work of our Laureates, increasing the capacity for youth participation, and giving more voice to marginalized groups such as smallholder farmers. Insightful suggestions regarding the content of our events offer exciting ideas for the future. Connecting the Borlaug Dialogue to the Laureate’s expertise was often mentioned, along with the need to directly address the sustainability of the global food system. Many responses addressed the need for a new meeting venue for the Borlaug Dialogue. Respondents seek more information about youth programs and the pipeline of developing youth in the Global Youth Institute and other programs. 
The Laureate Award Ceremony received a myriad of suggestions, including to reduce the duration and extent of the ceremony, move away from a dinner and focus more on the Laureate. Finally, our partners identified a major opportunity for growth in branding and communication efforts. Partners recommend more on-line presence and focus on the work of our Laureate following the award and throughout the Laureate’s ongoing career.
Thanks again to so many of you for responding. We will address many of your suggestions in our plans this year. Please watch for more information, and sign-up here (in the footer of the site) to receive regular newsletters/updates. 
With best wishes to everyone as we strive as a community for a global flat curve!
-Barbara (and everyone at the World Food Prize Foundation)
04/07/2020 1:23 PM |Add a comment
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