1987 World Food Prize Laureate
M.S. Swaminathan was named the first World Food Prize Laureate in 1987 for developing and spearheading the introduction of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties into India during the 1960s when that country faced the prospect of widespread famine. Wheat production doubled in just a few years, making the country self-sufficient and saving millions from extreme food deprivation. Swaminathan served as Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, was in charge of agriculture and rural development in India’s Planning Commission, and became Director General of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. In 2002, Swaminathan was elected President of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conferences, which brings global leaders and thinkers together with the goals of reducing the danger of armed conflict and cooperatively solving global problems. In 2008, he assumed chairmanship of The World Food Prize Selection Committee.