The World Food Prize Foundation

Building Forward Better: WFP Laureates Mobilizing for Food Systems Action

March 25, 2021  |  8:00 - 9:30 AM Central Time

World Food Prize Laureates mobilized as a cohort to issue a call for action needed to transform global food systems and work towards a healthier, more sustainable future. A selection of Laureates will discuss the letter and the need to build food systems forward to improve on pre-COVID conditions using the power of collective action. Stay tuned for updates!



Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, 2018 Laureate

Dr. Lawrence Haddad became GAIN’s Executive Director in October 2016. Prior to joining, he was the founding co-chair and lead author of the Global Nutrition Report (GNR). From 2004-2014 Lawrence was the Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the world’s leading development studies institute, and prior to that, he was a research Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He was the UK’s representative on the Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the UN’s Committee on Food Security (CSF) from 2009-2010. He is an economist and completed his PhD in Food Research at Stanford University in 1988. In 2018, Lawrence was awarded the World Food Prize for his: “relentless leadership and advocacy in mobilizing political will to make nutrition the focal point of development strategies."

David Beckmann, President Emeritus, Bread for the World, 2010 Laureate

David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for people struggling with hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. He has concluded nearly 30 years as president of Bread for the World and is launching a digitally based learning initiative on poverty, God, and politics. It focuses on emerging strategies to change the politics of poverty. During David’s tenure at Bread for the World, it grew to a network of two million people and 3,000 local churches.  He also led Bread for the World Institute, which does complementary research and education (on structural racism, for example). David founded the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse organizations – Jewish and Muslim groups, universities, hospitals, charities, and corporations – in building the public and political will to end hunger.  Before he moved to Bread for the World, Beckmann was a World Bank economist (1976-1991). David is currently teaching in Berkeley as a joint fellow of the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.


 Jan Low, Principal Scientist, International Potato Center (CIP), 2016 Laureate

Jan Low, 2016 World Food Prize laureate, has focused her career on integrating nutritional concerns into agricultural programs.  Currently a principal scientist based at the International Potato Center’s regional office, Dr. Low has spearheaded research to build the evidence base demonstrating the nutritional impact of utilizing pro-vitamin A rich orange-fleshed sweet potato as part of an integrated agriculture-nutrition intervention.  She led the design and is at the forefront of the implementation of the sweet potato for Profit and Health Initiative, launched in 2009. Dr. Low has worked as a policy analyst for Michigan State University and the International Food Policy Research Institute in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gebisa Ejeta, Director, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, 2009 Laureate

Dr. Gebisa Ejeta is a Distinguished Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University. He received the 2009 World Food Prize for his sorghum hybrids that are resistant to drought and the devastating weed, Striga. His work dramatically increased the production and availability of the food supply for hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. Combined with his persistent efforts to foster economic development and the empowerment of subsistence farmers through the creation of agricultural enterprises in rural Africa, he has had profound impacts on lives and livelihoods on a broader scale across the African continent.

Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist, Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, USAID

Rob Bertram is the Chief Scientist in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, where he serves a senior advisor on agriculture and nutrition in the implementation of Global Food Security Act.  In this role, he leads USAID’s evidence-based efforts to advance research, technology and implementation in support of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future.  He coordinates the Bureau for Food Security’s research portfolio spanning the U.S. University Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the CGIAR and other International Agricultural Research Centers, public-private partnerships in biotechnology, all of which collaborate and build capacity with partner country organizations.  He previously served as Director of the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy in the Bureau for Food Security, and prior to that, guided USAID investments in agriculture and natural resources research for many years.  

Dr. Bertram’s academic background in plant breeding and genetics includes degrees from University of California, Davis, the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland.  He also studied international affairs at Georgetown University and was a visiting scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.  Before coming to USAID, he served with USDA's international programs as well as overseas with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system.

Claudia Sadoff, Executive Management Team Convener and Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact, CGIAR

Claudia Sadoff is Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact, and Executive Management Team Convener, CGIAR System Organization. She previously served as Director General of IWMI, a CGIAR Center working globally to find water solutions for sustainable, climate-resilient development. She also served as a member of the CGIAR System Management Board, acting as CGIAR Gender Champion. Prior to joining CGIAR, she spent over 20 years at the World Bank where she worked across Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, holding multiple positions, including Lead Economist and Global Lead for Water Security and Integrated Water Resource Management. She currently serves as a Member of the Scientific Group of the 2021 UNFSS and was recently named an Honorary Member of the International Water Resources Association. Her previous appointments include Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Oxford University; Chair of the GWP/OECD Task Force on Water Security and Sustainable Growth; Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water Security; and Fulbright Scholar. She holds a PhD in Economics.


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