The Greatest Challenge in Human History: Can we sustainably feed 9 billion people by 2050?

The worlds foremost leaders in food and agriculture, including academic, business, government and NGO leaders, and farmers themselves, will weigh in on this critical question as we culminate the Norman Borlaug Centennial Year and look ahead to the next 100 years and the future of …

The worlds foremost leaders in food and agriculture, including academic, business, government and NGO leaders, and farmers themselves, will weigh in on this critical question as we culminate the Norman Borlaug Centennial Year and look ahead to the next 100 years and the future of humanity. (Compare: When Norman Borlaug was born in 1914, the global population was about 1.7 billion; today, it is 7 billion; by 2050, it will be more than 9 billion.)

Key, high-level speakers will include the President of Sierra Leone, a nation battling the ebola crisis; Ministers of Agriculture from the United States, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Rwanda; the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; the Gates Foundation Director for Agricultural Development; a special panel on Political Stability and Food Security; smallholder farmers;  academics and researchers who will speak on the gaps we are seeing in feeding the world, in areas ranging from nutrition to sustainability to technology and infrastructure. 

Full agenda and speaker list at
Full list of 20 statewide lectures and public events at

Media Contact: Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications,, 515-229-1705 (mobile)

Events All Week:

Madhouse Brewery has brewed a special "Iowa Borlauger" beer for the Borlaug Centennial that will be gifted to VIPs and also available for purchase in the Marriott Hotel, and starting on Thursday, Oct. 16, which is Norman Borlaug Day in Iowa, it will be on tap at Madhouse. What kind of beer? Wheat,of course. (Borlaug spent his lifes work on improving wheat varieties that could thrive globally and feed more people.)

Sunday, Oct. 12:

Kickoff: The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates hosts an open house 12-4 p.m., with cultural dancers from Mexico and India performing at 2:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. This follows the annual Des Moines Area Hunger Hike, starting at 1:30 p.m. at the building. 100 Locust Street.

Monday, Oct. 13:

Lecture/Honoree: Merry Fredrick of Self-Help International in Waverly will speak at a free public lecture Monday night at the Des Moines Social Club in conjunction with the FarmHer women in agriculture photo exhibit; Merry will be the recipient of the 2nd annual Robert D. Ray/Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award, which she will receive at the Iowa Hunger Summit Tuesday during lunch. 6 p.m., 700 Mulberry Street. All public events at

Lecture: The 2014 World Food Prize Laureate, wheat breeder Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, will give the Norman Borlaug Lecture at Iowa State University. This annual laureate lecture is usually attended by over 500 people. Free and open to the public. 8 p.m., Great Hall, Memorial Union, Ames.

Tuesday, Oct. 14:

Public Event: The Iowa Hunger Summit will again gather over 600 Iowans working to battle hunger for a day of workshops, networking and more. Free and open to the public. The day will include exceptional speakers such as Margaret Hoover and Bishop Richard Pates, as well as:

  • The Iowa Hunger Fight meal packaging event, located at the Des Moines Diocese.
  • The Hunger Luncheon, which only serves food used by Iowa organizations to help feed hungry people, will feature keynote speaker Dennis Dimick, editor of National Geographics special series on "The Future of Food."  During the Hunger Luncheon, Governor Branstad will issue a proclamation at noon, Merry Fredrick will be honored with the humanitarian award at 12:15 p.m., and the keynote will take place at 12:40 p.m.
  • National Geographic will also be showcasing an impressive exhibit of related photography and infographics at the Marriott, which will afterward be on display at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in coming weeks and months.

9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.Des Moines Marriott Downtown, 700 Grand Ave., 2nd Floor. 

Evening Public Event: The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the World Food Prize will present "Americas plenty, Americas waste: A conversation on food security at home and abroad with leading journalists." Free and open to the public. Des Moines Register Executive Business Editor Lynn Hicks and Photographer Rodney White, Documentary Filmmaker Karim Chrobog, and MinnPost Reporter Sharon Schmickle will showcase their work in China, South Korea and the United States and lead a conversation on food waste in America and the role of Iowa and U.S. businesses in transforming global agriculture. This engaging, multimedia presentation will feature Chrobogs new film "Wasted" and new reporting from Hicks and Whites investigation of agricultural reform in China. 6-7:15 p.m. Des Moines Marriott Downtown, 700 Grand Ave., 2nd Floor.

Wednesday, Oct. 15:

Borlaug Dialogue

Ebola Focus: At the beginning of the symposium, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, will speak about the critical importance of investing in countries during times of crisis, such as the current issues we face with the Ebola outbreak. Marriott, 2nd Floor. Related: Press Conference with Nwanze and representatives of affected nations at 2:30 p.m. at the Marriott, 3rd Floor. Will also be webcast at

Highlighting gaps: Starting at 1 p.m., the first afternoon of the Borlaug Dialogue will frame the question of whether we can feed 9 billion people by 2050. One expert will argue we cant. Others will weigh in and look at specific issues and gaps. (Full agenda at Marriott, 2nd Floor. Webcast at

Borlaug Award: The third annual Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation, will recognize a young researcher under 40, this year Dr. Bram Govaerts of Belgium, who currently works on sustainable agriculture at Dr. Borlaugs CIMMYT research center in Mexico. Ceremony at 6 p.m. World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, 100 Locust Street.

Related: Press Conference with Bram Govaerts Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Marriott, 1st Floor Press Room.

Thursday, Oct. 16:

WorldFoodDay Twitter Town Hall: The World Food Prize and Bread for the World will host a Twitter Town Hall at 11 a.m. CDT/Noon EDT on Thursday, Oct. 16, to discuss "Feeding the World: Small Farmers and Food Supply." Tune in and contribute to the conversation.

Borlaug Dialogue

Major Keynotes: Morning keynotes will be given by the President of Sierra Leone; the head of agricultural development for the Gates Foundation; and a model smallholder farmer from Uganda. Also that morning, three ministers of agriculture from African nations will participate in a special panel with other participants, focusing on agriculture in Africa. Marriott, 2nd Floor.

40 Chances Fellows Awards: Followup to last years initiative announced by Howard Buffett, Tony Blair, and The World Food Prize. We will officially announce and honor the four individuals under 40 who will each be grated $150,000 to launch social entrepreneurship plans in Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda and Sierra Leone to improve hunger and poverty there. 11:30 a.m. award ceremony. Marriott, 2nd Floor. Related press conference Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., Marriott 3rd Floor.

Luncheon Keynote: Strive Masiyiwa, a businessman who is now the Chairman of the Board for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and who has been called “the Bill Gates of Africa” will give the keynote address at lunch. Marriott, 3rd Floor.

Afternoon highlight: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will host Mexican Minister of Agriculture Enrique Martinez y Martinez for a bilateral conversation about agriculture. Marriott, 2nd Floor.

2014 Laureate Award Ceremony: Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram will be honored with the World Food Prize at the Iowa State Capitol. Dr. Rajaram is a wheat breeder who succeeded Norman Borlaug, taking over his program when he left his CIMMYT research center in Mexico. He went on to expand upon Borlaug’s legacy, becoming a legend in his own right, crossing spring and winter wheat varieties and creating over 480 varieties that could be grown in a wide array of conditions, enhancing wheat production by 200 million tons and feeding millions of people. Broadcast live on IPTV and the web. Related press conference at 2 p.m. with Dr. Rajaram in the Marriott, 1st Floor Press Room.

Friday, Oct.17:

Borlaug Dialogue

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, a dear friend and colleague of Dr. Borlaug’s who is now 89 years old and one of the world’s most revered agricultural experts on the planet, will offer wisdom to inspire the next generation of agricultural leaders during breakfast. Marriott, 3rd Floor.

Political Stability, Food Security, and Unforeseen Challenges: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Amb. Charles Rivkin will give an opening keynote on global trade issues. Then, Amb. Quinn will make a rare appearance as a panel participant, joining other high-level experts on the connection between political stability, international trade and potential disruptions to the global food supply. Marriott, 2nd Floor.

The Future of Wheat: Wheat experts, including one of Iran’s top scientists, will speak about the battle against rust disease, which threatens our global wheat supply, and the role of wheat in feeding the world. Iranian wheat scientist Dr. Goodarz Najafian will participate. Marriott, 2nd Floor.

Laureate Luncheon: Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate, will give his symposium address during lunch to close out the Borlaug Centennial Year. Marriott, 3rd Floor.

Farm Tours: The Iowa Soybean Association will host farm tours for international visitors and all others interested in seeing a working Iowa farm.

Saturday, Oct. 18:

20th Anniversary Global Youth Institute: It was Dr. Borlaug’s dream to ensure a promising future for the world by inspiring the next generation of agricultural researchers and leaders. He and John Ruan Sr. established the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute 20 years ago, and today it is renowned and being held up by national STEM leaders as a model program to be replicated in all states. High school students select a country and food security topic, research it, and write an original paper presenting their own solutions, which they then present to global experts for feedback. Over 160 students from 7 countries and 24 states, and their teachers, will participate in events Thursday through Saturday. They interact with visiting leaders and experts, participate in the symposium, package meals, tour agricultural facilities, experience an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, and on Saturday, present their papers at Pioneer. More at

  • Related: Multiple organizations this year will be announcing new initiatives to invest in youth, including Land O’Lakes, and the STEM Food and Ag Council.

All Week:

Numerous side events by world-renowned institutions will occur all week.

Q&A’s with Experts: The World Food Prize is publishing Q&A’s with with speakers at
Columns by Experts: The World Food Prize and CGIAR, through Reuters’, will be publishing a series of columns starting this week.

Borlaug’s Life: A timeline of Dr. Borlaug’s life, videos of how he impacted people, and an interactive map where people can post how they’ll help feed the world, and more are at


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