HALL OF LAUREATES: The internationally renowned World Food Prize and staff are headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.
HALL OF LAUREATES: The internationally renowned World Food Prize and staff are headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

World Food Prize names new chair of Laureate Selection Committee

Gebisa Ejeta is only the third person to hold this position in 32-year history of the WFP.

The World Food Prize Foundation announced on June 19 that Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, has assumed the position of Chair of the Laureate Selection Committee.

As chair, Ejeta will direct the annual selection of the World Food Prize Laureate. Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, says Ejeta’s remarkable achievements have prepared him to assume this prestigious role.

In the 32-year history of the World Food Prize Foundation, only two individuals had ever served as Chair of the Laureate Selection Committee. The first was Dr. Norman E. Borlaug himself from 1986 until 2008, when he was succeeded by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan of India, the first World Food Prize Laureate and Borlaug's closest collaborator in inaugurating the Green Revolution.

Three distinguished plant scientists
“Now that mantle has been passed to another World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Ejeta, who was born in extremely poor circumstances in remote Ethiopia and who rose to become one of the most distinguished plant scientists in the world,” says Quinn. “The World Food Prize Council of Advisors was unanimous in choosing him to lead this most critical function of the World Food Prize Foundation — selecting the annual Laureate.”

Special tribute is given to Swaminathan for his decade-long service heading the WFP Selection Committee. “Borlaug and Swaminathan — who represent the vanguard of the Green Revolution and two of the most innovative agricultural scientists ever to have lived — gave the World Food Prize a status and prestige that could not have been obtained in any other way,” says Quinn. “Swaminathan’s extraordinary leadership carried on Dr. Norman Borlaug’s legacy and created a standard of excellence reflected in the Laureates he chose.” 

Director of Center for Global Food Security
Ejeta won the World Food Prize in 2009 for developing sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and the parasitic Striga weed. His work dramatically increased the production and availability of one of the world’s five principal grains, enhancing the food supply of hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, his creation of agricultural enterprises to empower and educate subsistence farmers in rural Africa has fostered economic development.

Currently, Ejeta holds a distinguished professorship at Purdue University and serves as executive director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security.

“It is a great honor and an awesome responsibility to be named a successor to Norman Borlaug and M. S. Swaminathan as the new chair of the World Food Prize Selection Committee,” says Ejeta. “I accept the confidence and trust bestowed upon me by the Council of Advisors with absolute humility.”

About the World Food Prize: The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the World Food Prize has honored 46 outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. 

The World Food Prize Foundation, based in Des Moines, Iowa, annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium in October. It also has a variety of youth education programs to help further the discussion on cutting-edge global food security issues and inspire the next generation to end hunger. The World Food Prize invites you to explore the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. You may do so through the website www.worldfoodprize.com or visit the Hall at 100 Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa.

Source: World Food Prize


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