For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. – Today Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), delivered remarks at the 2011 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Department of State. The former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, and the former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, were jointly selected to receive the 2011 World Food Prize for their independent, personal commitment and visionary leadership in creating and implementing policies targeting the alleviation of hunger and poverty in their countries.
Administrator Shah honored the World Food Prize winners and announced Feed the Future's “Borlaug 21st Century Leadership” program, a $32.5 million investment to help shape the next generation of leaders in agriculture. This program will provide mentoring and training opportunities for agriculture professionals across the globe and will help institutions strengthen their agriculture systems and best practices to serve as premier learning institutions.
“The contributions of President Kufuor and President Lula could not have come at a more important time. Food prices have hit all-time highs. Already this year, the World Bank estimates 44 million people who had escaped a life of dire poverty and hunger have been thrust back into that terrible state.
The good news is we know how to change this devastating narrative. We have to reassert our financial and developmental commitment to agriculture, collaborate widely in public-private partnerships and invest in innovative solutions that harness the power of science and technology. But these transformations cannot happen without visionary leaders to implement them like President Kufuor and President Lula.
To build the next generation of leaders in food security, we will invest $32.5 million in a new Leadership Program, named after the father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug. Through support for strategic planning and donor coordination and financing, the Leadership Program will help strengthen over 65 African agricultural research institutions. And it will directly reach more than 2,300 students with fellowships, training and mentoring.
In order to help promising scientists from partner countries develop their expertise, we will work with U.S. land grant universities so students can access the best, most cutting-edge agricultural, both at home and abroad.
We will also provide funding for American graduate students to study at international research centers, helping fellows develop new seed varieties, technologies and approaches in the field.
Later this afternoon, I will kick-off the beginning of our three-day Feed the Future Research Forum, designed to accelerate and encourage exactly these efforts.
World Food Prize
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Food Prize, which recognizes individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The World Food Prize includes a cash award of $250,000 and a sculpture by world-renowned designer Saul Bass. Each year more than 4,000 institutions and organizations are invited to nominate candidates for the prize.
The award will be formally presented in a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 13, 2011 in conjunction with the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium. In honor of World Food Prize founder Dr. Norman Borlaug, this year's October events will also include the Grand Opening of the Norman E. Borlaug Hall of Laureates, an educational center and place to honor all those who have made strides in the fight against hunger.
The World Food Prize is guided by a distinguished Council of Advisors that includes former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush. For more information on the World Food Prize, visit www.worldfoodprize.org.
Feed the Future
Through Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, the U.S. Government is helping countries transform their own agricultural sectors and regional trading systems to sustainably feed their people. For more information, please visit www.feedthefuture.gov.
Last updated: November 24, 2014