U of I students inspired by attending World Food Prize events

Eighteen University of Illinois students who are passionate about food security attended the annual World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa during October. The students’ trip was sponsored by the ACES Office of International Programs and ACES Office of Academic Programs.  

“Every year the Borlaug Dialogue and World Food Prize convene high level representatives from governments, industries, NGOs and international agencies to discuss the challenges of hunger and progress being made to address them. These are issues that many Illinois students are passionate about and that are at the core of the International Food Security at Illinois (IFSI) mission. Giving our students the opportunity to observe, interact with, and be inspired by leaders in the campaign to end world hunger is a natural thing for the Office of International Programs to do,” said Alex Winter-Nelson, director of the ACES Office of International Programs.  

The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing – without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs – the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The award is presented each October in conjunction with The Normal E. Borlaug International Symposium, a three-day event known as “the premier conference in the world on global agriculture.”

The Illinois students had the opportunity to interact with international experts, policy leaders, business executives and farmers as they worked together to address cutting-edge issues in food security. They listened to such distinguished speakers as U.S. ambassadors and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Other dignitaries present this year included: the President of Mauritious, the former President of Malawi, the President of the World Bank, and current and past World Food Prize Laureates.

The students left informed and inspired. Some of their thoughts are included below. 

Morgan Doggett, a senior in agricultural and consumer economics:

"Attending the World Food Prize was quite the experience. From visiting with University of Illinois alumnus, Dr. Robert Fraley, to meeting agriculture and policy leaders from around the globe, it was leaps and bounds away from anything I could have imagined when I applied to be a student representative for the University of Illinois."

Thomas Poole, a junior in crop sciences: 

 "Attending this prestigious conference with such a diverse group of colleagues brings hope for the future of agriculture. With passion and perseverance, we can lead better days through better ways and bring an end to world hunger."

Kara Brockamp, a sophomore in agricultural and biological engineering:

"This year’s symposium continued the legacy of the Father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, in as stellar of a way as ever, giving young people like me countless role models to pave the way to a hunger-free world."

Lotte Reinhoudt, exchange student in Human Nutrition from the Netherlands:

"Enhancing the ability of food systems to deliver high quality diets is essential. The lecture at the World Food Prize has made me even more aware of this and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to listen to the experts in this field. I will keep this knowledge in mind and try to think outside the box and broaden my vision when working on nutrition problems in the future."


Article submitted by Leslie Myrick, 217-244-5373

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