2016 World Food Prize

Oct 13, 2016  | 1 hr 30 min  | 2016

Funding for the 2016 World Food Prize has been provided by Friends, the Iowa Public Television Foundation. And a grant from the W.T. & Edna M. Dahl Trust.

Mike Pearson: On a crisp autumn evening in American's Heartland, leaders from across the globe have descended into Iowa's capital city of Des Moines to honor agricultural breakthroughs and discuss the path forward for hunger initiatives. Moments ago, guests from across the world climbed the steps of the State Capitol for a night of dialogue and honors, all culminating tonight in the 2016 World Food Prize ceremony.

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Pearson: Welcome inside the Statehouse Chambers of the Iowa Capitol. Des Moines plays host to tonight's gathering of hundreds of global leaders waging a fight against world hunger issues. Hello, I'm Mike Pearson. For three decades the World Food Prize has honored hunger fighters and their agricultural accomplishments. Tonight we remember the legacy of Norman Borlaug, acknowledge the work of young Americans in the agricultural sector and honor the 2016 World Food Prize Laureates. And there are multiple aware recipients this evening. All four of tonight's Laureates have pitched a dramatic fight against so-called hidden hunger and malnutrition. Tonight's mix of dialogue, honors and music begins now.

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2016 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony celebrating 30 years of laureates. Now, welcome past World Food Prize laureates. The 1996 Laureate from India, DR. Gurdev Khush.

Pearson: The World Food Prize is arguably the most prominent global award in its field.

Dr. Per Pinstrup-Anderson from Denmark, the 2001 Laureate.

Pearson: Past winners include the ex-presidents of Brazil and Ghana and U.S. Senators amongst others.

The 2002 World Food Prize Laureate, a native of Cuba, from the United States, Dr. Pedro Sanchez.

Pearson: For 30 years the World Food Prize awards $250,000 annually to outstanding individuals.

Representing the United Nations, the 2003 Laureate, Catherine Bertini.

Pearson: The 2016 Laureates developed biofortification to increase vitamins and minerals in staple crops.

From India, the 2005 Laureate, Dr. Modadugu Gupta.

Pearson: There are seven biofortified crops that have been released in 30 countries.

Former Minister of Agriculture of Brazil, the 2006 World Food Prize Laureate, His Excellency Alysson Paolinelli.

Pearson: This is the 10th anniversary of the Iowa Hunger Summit bringing more than 5,000 Iowa hunger fighters together.

The 2007 Laureate from the United States, Dr. Philip Nelson.

Pearson: And the 29th anniversary of the International Symposium, which has brought 10,000 people together.

Of Ethiopia, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, the 2009 Laureate and Vice Chair of the Laureate Selection Committee.

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Reverend David Beckmann of the United States, the 2010 Laureate.

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From Israel, the 2012 Laureate, Dr. Daniel Hillel.

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Dr. Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, the 2013 Laureate.

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From the United States, also a 2013 Laureate, Dr. Robert Fraley.

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Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the 2015 Laureate from Bangladesh.

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And seated in the chamber, the first World Food Prize Laureate and Chair of the Laureate Selection Committee, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan of India.

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Please welcome representing the bipartisan leadership of the state of Iowa, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honorable Linda Upmeyer and Representative Abby Finkenauer.

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Senators Matt McCoy, William Dotzler and Charles Schneider.

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The Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, the Honorable Kim Reynolds.

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From the Iowa Congressional delegation, Representative Steve King.

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At this time please join us in welcoming our distinguished national and international guests. A former member of the Kenyan Parliament and the Chair of the Sasakawa African Association, Honorable Professor Ruth Oniang'o.

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The Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department, Bureau of Economic Business, Former Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Patricia Haslach.

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The Minister of Agriculture of Malaysia, His Excellency Dato' Sri Shabery Bin Cheek.

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The Secretary of Agriculture of the United States and former Governor of Iowa, the Honorable Tom Vilsack.

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The President of the African Development Bank, His Excellency Akinwumi Adesina.

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A distinguished guest of honor, the Former President of the Republic of Malawi, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda.

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And now welcome the World Food Prize Laureate Party and distinguished guests of honor. World Food Prize Foundation Chairman John Ruan III and Foundation President Ambassador Kenneth Quinn.

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And now please welcome the 2016 World Food Prize Laureates. Dr. Maria Andrade of Cape Verde.

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Dr. Robert Mwanga of Uganda.

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Dr. Howarth Bouis of the United States.

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Dr. Jan Low of the United States.

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Presiding at tonight's ceremony, please welcome the Governor of the state of Iowa, the Honorable Terry E. Branstad.

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Tonight's distinguished special guest of honor, the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Her Excellency Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

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As eyes turn to Des Moines and the World Food Prize observes its 30th anniversary, it is edifying to reflect on the fact that when the Iowa territory was first opened for settlement in 1834, the global population had just reached 1 billion. When Norman Borlaug and John Ruan, Sr. were born in 1914, the world population had only risen to 1.7 billion, an addition of 700 million people in 80 years. However, just 95 years later, when Dr. Borlaug passed away in 2009, there were 7 billion people on the face of the Earth, an increase of 5.3 billion more mouths to feed.

As global population grows at this staggering rate, the battle against hunger struggles to keep up. It was a singular dedication to feeding this ever-expanding world that led to Norman Borlaug's vision of creating the World Food Prize. Born on a small Iowa farm, Dr. Borlaug's pioneering work in Mexico to produce higher yielding strains of wheat ushered in the Green Revolution, preventing large scale famine in South Asia and earning him the title of the man who has saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived.

Shortly after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, Dr. Borlaug embarked on a mission to recognize and inspire those individuals who would lead the fight against world hunger and in 1986 the General Foods World Food Prize was born. The first World Food Prize was awarded in 1987 to Dr. M.S. Swaminathan of India. However, just three short years later, the future of the World Food Prize was in serious doubt after corporate restructuring ended financial support for the prize. Dr. Borlaug would once again have to find a sponsor. This time his search would lead him back to Iowa and toward the formation of a partnership that would forever change the World Food Prize.

Noted businessman and philanthropist John Ruan, Sr., who, like Dr. Borlaug, was born in a small Iowa town in 1914, had a long-standing vision that Iowa be seen as the agricultural capital of America. A resonant chord was struck in Ruan and in 1990 he announced his intent to bring the prize to Iowa thereby securing its future. Over the last 25 years, with the support of the Governor and the state legislature and its many donors, the prize would not only survive but flourish, especially under the direction of its new chairman, John Ruan III and Foundation President Ambassador Kenneth Quinn.

Fulfilling Norman Borlaug's vision, world leaders have called the World Food Prize the Nobel Prize for food and agriculture. The World Food Prize Laureates hail from countries around the world and have been at the forefront of the single greatest period of food production in all of human history. They are responsible for a diverse array of accomplishments, including dramatically improving rice production in Asia and Africa, the development of quality protein maze in Mexico, the eradication of pests and diseases, promoting and expanding the dairy and seed industries in India, reforming the food policy framework in China and countries in South Asia and North Africa, utilizing methods of microcredit, aquaculture and humanitarian relief to empower poor, rural women, making deserts bloom in the Middle East and unveiling the promise of biotechnology.

Fulfilling John Ruan's dream, each year the World Food Prize gathers international experts to address critical issues in global food security through its international symposium known as the Borlaug Dialogue, referred to as the premier conference in the world on global food security, and which has featured speakers such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Agrichairman Kofi Annan, Princess Haya bint Hussein and Bill Gates, who launched his multi-billion dollar initiative to uplift African agriculture in 2009, as well as smallholder farmers from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Other World Food Prize events have featured world leaders such as President Xi Jinping of China and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. As we celebrate the accomplishments of the laureates who have uplifted the lives of tens of millions of people during the first 30 years of the World Food Prize, it is sobering to reflect on the fact that in 2046, when Iowa celebrates its bicentennial as a state and the World Food Prize will observe its 60th anniversary, the global population will have just reached 9 billion.

Whether we are able to sustainably and nutritiously feed all of these people is perhaps the greatest challenge the world has ever faced. It will be the next generations of laureates and global leaders who will determine whether we are able to fulfill Dr. Borlaug's -- enshrined in the magnificent World Food Prize Hall of Laureates that food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.

With the legacies of Norman Borlaug and John Ruan, Sr. to guide them and the World Food Prize Laureates to inspire them, there is every reason to be optimistic. And so, thanks to the remarkable accomplishments of its laureates and the contributions of its founders, what began as one man's idea has grown to become the world's foremost award recognizing great accomplishments and inspiring even greater achievements in the fight to eradicate hunger in the 21st century.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn.

Quinn: Good evening. Everyone here and all watching on Iowa Public Television and thousands following us on our webcast around the globe and particularly in Africa, welcome to the 30th anniversary of World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony as we present the foremost international award for combatting hunger and promoting global food security.

Quinn: Governor Branstad, on behalf of our Chairman, John Ruan III, Janice Ruan, my wife Le Son, all of us at the World Food Prize, want to say how very grateful we are to you and First Lady Chris Branstad for presiding at tonight's ceremony and to you and to the bipartisan members of our state legislature who are here for the incomparable privilege of holding our ceremony here in this magnificent Iowa State Capitol for the 15th time.

Quinn: Your Excellency, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, we're thrilled to have a distinguished scientist like you as our special guest of honor. President Joyce Banda, we're so very pleased to have you back with us again this year. In all African history there have only been three women presidents of countries and two of them are here in this chamber tonight.

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Quinn: There's another president here and I want to express my personal pleasure in having His Excellency, my dear friend, Akinwumi Adesina, the newly-elected President of the African Development Bank here.

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Quinn: Congressman Steve King and Mrs. Barbara Grassley, old friends, not old friends, Mrs. Grassley I'm in trouble with you already here just starting, wonderful friends, long-term friends of the World Food Prize, thank you for being here. And speaking of long-term, for 17 years I have had this fantastic partnership with our Chairman John Ruan III and carrying forward the vision of his father and Norman Borlaug. It has only been with John's support, guidance and leadership that we have been able to build the World Food Prize to these past two decades and fill Norm and John Ruan, Sr.'s dreams. John, please stand up so we can thank you and the Ruan family, Janice, Janice Ruan, please stand up. All the Ruan family over here, thank you, thank you so much.

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Quinn: You see the chair next to John is open and empty because that was Norm's chair and we always keep it there because it's open so that his spirit is always here with us. But, while Norm is no longer with us, we're very fortunate to have his daughter, his son and his granddaughter with us tonight, Jeanie, Bill, Julie, thank you for your presence, thank you for your partnership with us in carrying forward your father's legacy to eliminate hunger in the world.

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Quinn: We have people in this chamber right now who speak 40 or 50 different languages, but in any of those languages hunger is a terrible word. Now, to highlight the importance of Norman Borlaug's work as a hunger fighter, each year we begin this ceremony with the reading of a poem entitled "In Any Language" written by another Iowa hunger fighter. To read that poem, please welcome Norman Borlaug's daughter, Jeanie Borlaug Laube.

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In Any Language by Lucille Morgan Wilson. In any language, hunger is an ugly word. There is no music in hunger. The rumble of empty stomachs, the monotonous whine of a child waste with disease, the moan of the mother whose baby lies bloated and still in her arms. Hunger is the listless den of apathy bread of weakness. The faded brown and grey of dead leaves after autumn has ebbed.

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Quinn: Thank you, Jeanie. Thank you for reminding us of your father's motivation and his passion. Now, this is our 30th anniversary. When you have an anniversary you observe it in many ways. First, you think of those who you lost during the year and you remember them and tonight we remember David Lambert and Ted Crosby, two dedicated and committed friends of the World Food Prize who passed away during the year.

Quinn: Another way that an anniversary is observed is that some family members who are far apart come home and some new family members arrive. So we have 14 previous World Food Prize Laureates here, old family members, plus four new family members, our 2016 Laureates who are here. And we're so pleased that we have two African Laureates, two Americans, especially that we have two women Laureates.

Quinn: When I became President in 2000 we had zero female Laureates and we had never had a Laureate from sub-Saharan Africa. Now we have six women and five African Laureates. So I'm very pleased, not enough, but we're going in the right direction.

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Quinn: Some who want to help you observe your anniversary but they can't come, they send a message. And we have a special message tonight, it's not in your programs, but here to present this special message is the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the former Governor of Iowa and a great friend to Norman Borlaug, to John Ruan and the World Food Prize, the Honorable Tom Vilsack.

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Vilsack: Let me take this opportunity personally to thank the Borlaug family and the Ruan family, the Iowa legislature and Governor Branstad for once again the opportunity to celebrate all that is good about humankind. And I bring a message tonight from President Obama. He says, I sent my warmest wishes to all those gathered in Des Moines to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the World Food Prize by Norman E. Borlaug. Believing in the possibilities of tomorrow, Dr. Borlaug founded the World Food Prize in an effort to alleviate hunger. Reaching a day where nutritious food is available for all requires creativity and ingenuity, grit and determination, virtues that the World Food Prize Laureates embody as they strive to build a brighter future for the people of our world. This year's honorees, two African scientists and two Americans, remind us that we need not come from similar backgrounds or origins to help ensure global food security. Through their breakthrough achievements they have already improved the health and wellbeing of tens of millions of people across Africa and around the world. These vital efforts have shed a light on what we can accomplish when we commit ourselves in common cause in promoting sustainability, innovation and progress. As you gather to honor Dr. Borlaug's memory and the accomplishments of the World Food Prize Laureates who are advancing his legacy, you have my best wishes. Signed, Barack Obama.

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Quinn: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Now, during an anniversary you also recall some special moments and one of those memories comes from 1987 when the first World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony took place at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and two of the participants from that event are here tonight, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the first World Food Prize Laureate and Al Clausi, the first World Food Prize Chairman.

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Quinn: Music can bring back memories. And Al and Swami, everybody calls Dr. Swaminathan, Swami, so alright there, Al and Swami, you may remember that legendary country singer John Denver appeared that night and he sang a very special song, a song he performed again in 1996 at the 10th anniversary of the World Food Prize. So, last week I went up in the World Food Prize attic and I rooted around up there in all the boxes and I found a video of that performance and I thought you'd like to see it. It went like this.

This first song that I wrote specifically about the issue of hunger and I wrote it some time before I had the privilege of serving with Dr. Borlaug on President Carter's Commission on World and Domestic Hunger. And yet I believe what I had heard of him and the good work that he had done as the father of the Green Revolution that somehow I learned this song from him. It expresses what I believe is in the birth cry of every newborn baby, just one of the things that binds us together all over the world and it says, I want to live.

Quinn: John Denver died tragically just a year after that performance. But Al, Swami, tonight as a special tribute to you, here to perform that song from that first World Food Prize Laureate Ceremony, originally from Waterloo, Iowa, but here by way of Nashville and the Country Music Hall of Fame, please welcome, Emily West.

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(music) There are children made of sorrow On a scorched and barren plain There are children raised beneath a golden sun There are children of the water Children of the sand And they cry out through the universe Their voices raised as one

I want to live I want to grow I want to see I want to know I want to share all I can be I want to live I want to live

Have you gazed out on the ocean Seen the breaching of a whale? Have you watched the dolphins frolic in the foam? Have you heard the song the humpback hears five hundred miles away Telling tales of ancient history of passages and home?

I want to live I want to grow I want to see I want to know I want to share all I can be I want to give I want to live

For the worker and the warrior for the lover and the liar For the native and the wanderer in kind For the maker and the user and the mother and her son I am looking for my family and all of you are mine.

We are standing all together Face to face and arm in arm We are standing on the threshold of a dream No more hunger no more killing No more wasting life away It is simply an idea And I know the time has come

I want to live I want to grow I want to see I want to know I want to share all I can be I want to live I want to grow I want to live I want to see I want to know I want to share all I can be I want to live I want to live (music)

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Please welcome from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Megan Srinivas.

Srinivas: Gee, I wonder who I upset to be placed after Emily West and that beautiful performance. Good evening, all. When I first applied for the World Food Prize Borlaug Ruan International Internship I'm pretty sure that my parents only okayed my application because they assumed that no organization was crazy enough to send a 15 year old halfway across the world to live by herself. Boy, did the World Food Prize prove my parents wrong. I spent in 2003 two months in Mbita Point, Kenya where I met some of the most loving and generous people in the entire world, people who accepted me as one of their own and who became a second family. But then I watched those people daily fight against hunger, malaria, HIV, lack of safe water, battles that I had never seen or dealt with myself nor even imagined. The experience opened my eyes to the world of public health and it made me change my life goals. From the moment I left Mbita I knew that my mission in life was to fight those health obstacles that I had witnessed firsthand. And that dedication took me to Harvard for both college and graduate school, to the University of Iowa for medical school and now to Johns Hopkins where I'm completing my medical residency. It's crazy to think that one moment in your life can change its entire course and the World Food Prize's decision to include me as a part of their family truly made me re-envision my future and change my ultimate goals. And that is why I'm here tonight. But I am only one of the many students across the globe that Dr. Borlaug and the World Food Prize have influenced throughout the years. And I welcome you to now join me and watch a video looking at all of the students who have had the true joy of being a part of this amazing organization. Thank you.

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On the 30th anniversary of the World Food Prize, it is appropriate to look back and reflect on how thousands of high school students from all across the United States and around the world have been inspired to confront hunger. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and Iowa philanthropist John Ruan, Sr. shared a vision and a dream that students in every school, in every state in America, would learn about global food security and be inspired to commit their lives to combatting hunger and meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

Since its beginnings in 1994 with just 14 Iowa students, World Food Prize youth education programs have expanded nationally and have grown to be recognized as among the most innovative in the world. The wide array of programs aims to educate and inspire the next generation of great scientific and humanitarian leaders, young women making up two-thirds of its participants. Each spring, the World Food Prize Youth Institutes take place in 17 states on the campuses of land grant universities. The Iowa Youth Institute in Ames serves as the flagship for this experience with over 60% of Iowa high schools participating. At these state youth institutes, high school students and their teachers explore and learn about the ever-increasing worldwide demand for food and the complexity of issues that affect global food security.

Students research and write papers about these pressing global challenges and gather at regional and state youth institutes to present their research and discuss solutions with their peers, local, state and international experts. Top students from the U.S. and abroad then travel to Des Moines each October with their high school teachers to participate as delegates in the Global Youth Institute.

Held in conjunction with the presentation of the $250,000 World Food Prize and the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, students and teachers participate in the World Food Prize events and are immersed in an exchange of ideas with the world's top agriculture experts, research scientists, industry and heads of state leading the fight against hunger. Students who participate in the Global Youth Institute can then apply to become a Borlaug Ruan International Intern.

Each summer, two dozen high school students are sent on a two month long life changing experience immersed in new cultures and taking on research assignments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Students participate in original research projects with acclaimed international scientists while getting a personal view of pressing food security issues and nutritional problems in poverty stricken areas of the developing world. Once these exceptional young men and women enter college they become eligible to become a Wallace Carver Fellow. This unique opportunity offers students paid internships that allow them to collaborate with prominent American scientists and policymakers at U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Centers and Offices across the United States.

This innovative program allows talented students in agriculture, life sciences and other fields critical to the fight against hunger to learn firsthand how to analyze agricultural and economic policy, assist in the management of food, nutrition and rural development programs and take part in groundbreaking field and laboratory based research. The World Food Prize Foundation George Washington Carver Internship also offers college-aged students the opportunity to work alongside the World Food Prize staff in planning and implementing its events throughout the year.

No matter which World Food Prize youth education program a student participates in, one point is very clear, all of these experiences are truly transformational.

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Quinn: So this year's Global Youth Institute has 200 student participants and an equal number of teachers and they're watching this telecast live at the Hall of Laureates. And 70% this year are young women and include students from Iowa and 29 other states as well as students from 7 foreign countries and for the third year in a row a group of students from Hubei Province, Iowa's sister state in China. And there are also participants from the World Food Prize U.S. Department of Agriculture Wallace Carver Fellows Program, Secretary Vilsack, that we're so proud to have started with you. And let's wave at them and show them how much we appreciate - wave at the students, let's see if they wave back at us. Alright, there they are. Okay. Alright. Good waving. You see the student back there, don't put the glass down on the furniture. I get in a lot of trouble with Mrs. Ruan when there are stains on the furniture in there.

Quinn: Now in its 18th year, the signature element of our youth program is the Borlaug Ruan International Internship, just like the one that Megan Srinivas went on. And each summer, the World Food Prize now sends 24 high school students, 17, 18 year olds, we don't do 15 year olds anymore, on life changing, all expense paid assignments at leading agricultural research centers in Asia, Africa, Latin America. When they return, they have to write a paper about both their scientific experience and their cross-cultural experience, about living in a different country. And each October, the World Food Prize presents two special awards to those Borlaug Ruan Interns whose work was judged to best reflect both their scientific excellence and their cross-cultural understanding.

Quinn: Now, here to present those awards are two dynamic young women who are carrying forward their grandfather's legacies, John Ruan, Sr.'s granddaughter, Dr. Rachel Ruan McClain and Norman Borlaug's granddaughter Julie Borlaug.

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The first Borlaug Ruan Intern Award is named for Iowa Agricultural Ambassador John Chrystal who spend decades during the Cold War promoting greater understanding between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. This year's recipient of the John Chrystal Intern Award is Isiah Brandt of Sumner, Iowa who interned at ICIPE in Kenya and is majoring in agricultural engineering at Iowa State University.

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The second award is named for the late Iowa State Senator Elaine Szymoniak who was a passionate supporter of the World Food Prize and who played an instrumental role in connecting Norman Borlaug and John Ruan, Sr. in 1990. There are two recipients who will share the Szymoniak award, Madeline Poole of Chicago, Illinois whose internship was at Maharashtra Seed Company in Jalna, India and who is currently a first year student at the University of Illinois majoring in agricultural and biological engineering.

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And Precious Listana who interned at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics in India and who is now attending the University of California-Berkeley majoring in business and social entrepreneurship.

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On behalf of our grandfathers we want to congratulate each of you, all three of you, and thank you for being next generation hunger fighters. Can we please give them another round of applause.

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Quinn: Thank you Rachel and Julie. I know your grandfathers are up there looking down with big smiles on their faces tonight. Now, I tell all of the Borlaug Ruan Interns that they should be so proud that they will always carry these names with them through life. And in fact we have many with us tonight who also have the Borlaug name in their title. In fact, the World Food Prize has become the gathering place for many programs that bear Norm's name. Many are here tonight and I want you to meet them. There's the USDA Borlaug Fellows, the USAID Borlaug LEAP Fellows, the Monsanto-Beachell Borlaug Scholars, the Fraley Borlaug Scholar from the University of Illinois, the Purdue Borlaug Fellows, the Michigan State University Borlaug BHEARD participants, the Borlaug Institute of Texas A&M, the Norman Borlaug Training Initiative, the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, the CAST Borlaug Communication Award winner as well as the winner of the World Food Prize's Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation as well as the Sasakawa Africa Association that Norm headed for many years, and beyond that we have farmers from around the world here with the Global Farmers Network. They're all up here in the Borlaug balcony. Wave, let's give them a round of applause.

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Quinn: Reading all those names has made me so thirsty I hope our assistant producer down here, Crystal Harris, has a bottle of water for me. Okay, good. So while I'm getting a drink there's one other person who has a special Borlaug connection I want you to meet.

Please welcome the 2004 Borlaug Ruan Intern from Northwestern University, Dr. Anne Michael Langguth.

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I brought with me tonight my violin not to perform but instead to serve as a symbol of the intersection between the arts and sciences in my life. As a resident physician I have fewer opportunities to perform than I once did, but some of my most favorite performance memories come from right here with the World Food Prize, playing at the 2009 Laureate Ceremony, at the U.S. Capitol in Statuary Hall for Norman Borlaug's statue unveiling and playing the violin since the age of 3 I have found that performing music has a way of opening minds to innovative thought, to motivate and to soothe, and to instill the importance of dedication and determination in achieving a meaningful, lifelong goal, all attributes shared by Dr. Norman Borlaug and the esteemed thought leaders we have honored here tonight. At the age of 17, as a Borlaug Ruan International Intern, this violin traveled with me to China for my eight week internship where I went from Beijing to Shiyan and the countryside in between. Each night as I would practice Bach and Mendelssohn I was comforted by the familiar, but at the same time was inspired and reminded of the importance of opening my mind to the unfamiliar and in so doing to the common life themes we share throughout the world. Dr. Norman Borlaug always traveled with a song in his heart, we shared a favorite, the Ioway Corn Song, and channeling his love of music, his passion for progress and his spirit of inquiry, I hope that we all open our hearts and minds to the music to be shared with us tonight. Thank you.

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Quinn: Anne Michael, thank you so very much. Governor, Lieutenant Governor are so thrilled by how these young women have blossomed from when they were 15 and 16 years old and came to the World Food Prize and there are 272 others just like them and so I wanted them to be here on the 30th anniversary so everyone could see what Norm's inspiration, John Ruan's and the program they created does to transform and inspire young people.

Quinn: I'm at an awkward moment because this is the place where we normally have the entertainment that is keyed to our laureates and I had arranged for an incredible young African opera singer to be here, it's written up in the program you have, and she was going to sing two songs for you, one that she had sung for Nelson Mandela at the United Nations and another, a special African song. And she was supposed to get off the plane this afternoon and didn't arrive and we found out that she was coming from Vienna where she's performing at the Vienna State Opera and planes got delayed, she didn't make it. So I'm kind of at a little bit of a disadvantage about what we do, but Anne Michael, you have your violin here. She's in a medical residency, there can't be much time to practice, but would you ever consider coming and playing again the way you played for Norman Borlaug for everyone tonight?

It would be an honor.

Quinn: Yes, let's encourage --

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Quinn: Dr. Anne Michael Langguth. Thank you, Anne Michael, that was very moving. So we're now to the point of the ceremony where we need to have the official Laureate proclamation issued. And to do this I want to ask you to welcome a man who is a great friend to Dr. Borlaug, to John Ruan, and who is a great friend to the World Food Prize, the man who was Governor when the World Food Prize was rescued and moved to Iowa and whose support led to the enduring public-private partnership that we have enjoyed ever since. It's the man who provided the essential leadership for the creation of the Norman Borlaug Statue and its unveiling in the U.S. Capitol and the man who is now the longest serving state Governor in the history of the United States of America. Please welcome the Governor of Iowa, the Honorable Terry E. Branstad.

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Branstad: Good evening and thank you for that very kind introduction, Ambassador Quinn, and thank you for your great leadership for the World Food Prize and bringing it to greater heights every year. Tonight we gather in this beautiful Iowa Capitol Building and I want to extend a very warm welcome to all the people of Iowa who are here and to our guests from all around the world who have traveled to our capita city, Des Moines for the presentation of the World Food Prize Laureates. This distinguished award will be presented to four scientists whose achievements have benefited millions. Your accomplishments offer inspiration to each of us and the next generation of leaders, our youth. Both Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and I are passionate about preparing our youth for careers in STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and math. To that end, we are so pleased to partner with the World Food Prize and Iowa State University in carrying out the Iowa Youth Institute which engages our youth in solving the world's most pressing challenges in agriculture, humanitarianism and STEM fields. The Laureate ceremony and the Youth Institute have made a tremendous impact in Iowa and in preparing our next generation of leaders. Our sincere appreciation to John Ruan and the Ruan family and to Ambassador Ken Quinn for the vision to preserve the World Food Prize Foundation and providing a home here in Iowa. Iowa's leadership and legacy rests in feeding the world and fighting hunger. Our state's heritage is filled with the names of individuals who have been at the forefront of those efforts, from President Herbert Hoover and Henry C. Wallace, to George Washington Carver and Henry A. Wallace. All Iowans are justly proud of this wonderful history. Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Norwegian from up in the northern part of the state of Iowa, I'm proud to say from Cresco, Iowa was a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate himself and it was his vision that established the World Food Prize in 1986 to recognize achievements that increased the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world. This year's winners are particularly deserving of this great honor and it is most fitting given our state's legacy that this award is presented here in the House of Representatives Chamber in our beautiful Capitol Building. I am extremely proud to be the Governor of Iowa and to officially designate this ceremony as the 30th anniversary celebration and proclaim our four recipients as the 2016 World Food Prize Laureates. This is the official proclamation that I am proud to present.

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Let food be thy medicine, a quote attributed to Hippocrates approximately 2,400 years ago, best captures the groundbreaking achievement for which the four distinguished 30th anniversary World Food Prize Laureates are being honored in 2016. The development and implementation of biofortification, breeding critical vitamins and minerals into staple crops, thereby dramatically reducing micronutrient and vitamin deficiency which causes stunting, wasting and death for millions. For several millennia, the world has struggled with the scourge of malnutrition. Even in the 21st century, the numbers are staggering. Undernutrition affects 2 billion people globally. The impact is particularly severe among young children. Poor nutrition causes nearly half of the deaths in children under the age of 5, taking nearly 3 million lives a year and in that same age group 200 million have vitamin A deficiency and 159 million, one in four of all children in the world, are stunted. It was a commitment to confronting this critical problem that drew our four laureates from their very diverse backgrounds to the common endeavor of eradicating the plague of undernutrition.

Born in 1950 in Berkeley, California, following his undergraduate education at Stanford University, Howarth "Howdy" Bouis spent three years in the Philippines with the Volunteers in Asia organization, an experience that refocused his career on international humanitarian issues. Returning to Stanford, he enrolled in a graduate program at the Food Research Institute earning his Ph.D. in 1982. That same year at the invitation of future World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Bouis accepted a position at the International Food Policy Research Institute known as IFPRI. Inspired by the achievements in reducing micronutrient deficiencies of another World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Nevin Scrimshaw, Bouis began the search in the early 1980s for the way to infuse essential vitamins and minerals into the staple crops people eat every day, seeking ways to literally have their food become the medicine that would prevent the devastation of malnutrition. As momentum gathered, Harvest Plus was born in 2003 under Bouis' leadership at IFPRI. One of the reasons that Bouis was finding some acceptance for his ideas was that in 2000, the World Food Prize had been awarded to Dr. Evangelina Villegas of Mexico, the first female Laureate and her scientific collaborator, Dr. Surinder Vasal of India. They were honored for their breakthrough achievement of breeding protein into maze thus fortifying corn with an essential health enhancing element. Suddenly, biofortification seemed possible.

Sitting in the audience at a World Food Prize luncheon in New York City honoring these two millennium Laureates, was a young African scientists from Uganda. His name was Robert Mwanga. Mwanga, who had just completed his doctorate at North Carolina State University was now doing post-doctoral research supported by the McKnight Foundation with emphasis on breeding vitamin A into sweet potatoes. He would soon return to Uganda and eventually become part of the African plant breeding team with Dr. Maria Andrade and Dr. Jan Low, under the auspices of the International Potato Research Center known by its Spanish acronym as CIP. Over the next decade, these three scientists would build the orange fleshed sweet potato program into the most successful example of micronutrient and vitamin biofortification the world has ever seen.

Born in 1954, Mwanga and his nine siblings were raised on a 20 acre farm in the Kamuli District of Uganda. At one point, Mwanga had to live over 100 miles from his home just to get the best possible primary school education. His academic achievement led to scholarships and a college degree from Makerere University in Kampala followed by a graduate degree from the University of the Philippines in Los Banos. Back in his native Uganda, Mwanga succeeded in developing 20 high yielding vitamin A enriched sweet potato varieties with their distinctive orange color that resulted from the infusion of beta carotene. Eventually over 30% of farmers in Uganda were growing Mwanga's sweet potatoes and his breeding programs expanded to 10 other sub-Saharan countries.

Maria Andrade was born in Sao Felipe Fogo on the Cape Verde Islands in 1958. Even though her parents had little formal schooling, her father was a dock worker and her mother a homemaker caring for her two sisters and seven brothers, education was an important part of the family culture as this was seen as a means to a secure future. Based on her exceptional performance in high school, Andrade earned a life changing international scholarship that took her to the University of Arizona where she received her bachelor and masters of science degrees in plant genetics. Returning to Africa, she developed a deep interest in biofortification of crops in 1985 through her work at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. It was there that she learned that 70% of children in Mozambique suffered from vitamin A deficiencies. With support from USAID, Andrade earned her Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant physiology from North Carolina State University in 1994. It was while conducting her Ph.D. research that Andrade concluded that the orange fleshed sweet potato had the potential of providing significant nutritional benefits especially to malnourished children. Andrade's sweet potato breeding research began in earnest in 1997 in drought prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa. This led to the release of nine drought tolerant varieties of orange fleshed sweet potato that were distributed to farmers in Mozambique in 2001. Andrade next conducted the first large scale field testing of more than 50 other sweet potato varieties from the U.S., China, Kenya and Tanzania, from which she was able to identify and develop eight varieties with exceptionally high yields. In building what has been called the calling card for biofortification in sub-Sahara Africa, Andrade has also partnered effectively with Bouis, Harvest Plus and the government of Mozambique. She famously was serenaded by the international superstar Bono when showing him the Melinda variety of orange fleshed sweet potato she had developed in honor of Melinda Gates.

Born in 1955 in Denver, Colorado, Jan Low attended Pamona College in Clairmont, California where as part of her coursework she participated in a study abroad program that enabled her to live with a Kenyan family for two months in Nairobi while taking classes at the university. This was followed by an additional three months in a coastal village conducting independent research on mosquito borne diseases. After college she joined the Peace Corps, working for four years in fisheries and aquaculture in Zaire. Returning to the United States, Low entered Cornell University. There she was inspired by the chairperson of her doctoral committee, Dr. Dan Sisler, to work on combatting vitamin A deficiencies, which can lead to blindness. With her Ph.D. in agricultural economics, Low joined CIP in 1994 as the center's regional leader for Africa. There she recognized the potential of orange fleshed sweet potatoes to combat vitamin A deficiency among young children throughout sub-Saharan Africa. To provide the evidence it could work, in 2005 she conducted a major study among poor African communities, which demonstrated that consumption of orange fleshed sweet potato led to a 15% decline in vitamin A deficiency in children. Armed with that knowledge, Low led a seminal study as part of a Harvest Plus project that focused on how to effectively deliver orange fleshed sweet potatoes to poor and vulnerable households. While Andrade and Mwanga bred the vitamin A enriched orange fleshed sweet potatoes, Low structured a nutrition outreach and education marketing approach. Building on its plant breeding success, the CIP team, using songs, decorated t-shirts and attention getting signs, made orange the color of enhanced health and the orange fleshed sweet potato the health food choice. Together they convinced almost 2 million households in 10 African countries to plant, purchase and consume this nutritionally biofortified food.

Of special significance to the success was a program unveiled on October 15, 2009 in Des Moines, as Bill Gates launched his multi-million dollar campaign to uplift African agriculture at the Borlaug Dialogue. Included was a $21 million grant to CIP for implementation of a project titled Sweet Potato Action for Security and Health in Africa, or SASHA. The results were so impressive that just seven years later the three members of the CIP Africa orange fleshed sweet potato team would be nominated for the World Food Prize. The Gates Foundation had also provided critical assistance to Harvest Plus programs starting in 2001, joining an array of donors in supporting Bouis' initiative to enrich staple food crops in Africa, Asia and Latin America. At the same time, multiple international research institutions became part of Bouis' Harvest Plus biofortification endeavor. As a result of Bouis' leadership, crops such as iron and zinc fortified beans, rice, wheat, cowpea and pearl millet and vitamin A enriched cassava, maze and sweet potatoes are either being tested or have been commercially released in over 40 countries, including those with acute need, such as Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia and Pakistan.

And so, through the combined efforts of our four laureates, over 10 million persons have already been positively impacted by biofortified crops, with the potential of several hundred million more having their nutrition and health enhanced in the coming decade and a goal of reaching 1 billion people by the year 2030. Thanks to the amazing breakthroughs of our laureates, now in 2016 Hippocrates' aphorism is at last finally coming true. Food is becoming the medicine to counter malnutrition, stunting, hidden hunger and early childhood death around the world. Therefore, in this year as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of both Norman Borlaug's first trip to Africa and his founding of the World Food Prize, it is most fitting that Maria Andrade, Howarth Bouis, Jan Low and Robert Mwanga have been chosen as the 2016 World Food Prize Laureates.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 2016 World Food Prize Laureates, Dr. Maria Andrade. Dr. Robert Mwanga. Dr. Howarth Bouis. And Dr. Jan Low.

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At this time we invite the World Food Prize Chairman John Ruan III, Her Excellency President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and Her Excellency Former President Joyce Banda to join the World Food Prize Chairman John Ruan III on the dais.

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The World Food Prize sculpture will now be presented to the 2016 Laureates.

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Quinn: We now invite Her Excellency President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim to offer her words of congratulations to the Laureates.

Gurib-Fakim: Thank you, Ambassador Quinn. Allow me to upfront congratulate all Laureates for their magnificent achievement and I think has been displayed in this film that we have just seen. Now, I was speaking to Maria earlier on and she said something which was very, very important. She has taken a crop which was on the floor and now put it on the table. This is so very true and not only has she achieved this immense piece of research which is going to solve malnutrition for many children, of course people across the world, but she does something much more fundamental in as much as she is enlarging the base of our staples and she has brought again crops which were underutilized and neglected to the front and this is again to be applauded. Now, there's another thing that she also managed to do and I was listening to the film, that this crop that she has been able to actually modify and enhance bioforitified is also resistant to climate change. And when we look at sub-Saharan Africa and we look at the impacts of climate change we'll see that this continent is going to be very badly hit. So developing and preempting this in the years to come and providing food security, it is highly commendable. Again, congratulations to the whole team. Thank you.

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Quinn: So, let me invite President Gurib-Fakim to return to her seat. And at this time I want to invite the Laureates to offer their remarks. Dr. Andrade.

Andrade: Thank you very much. Distinguished guests, I would first of all like to thank the Chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation and all those associated with the World Food Prize for having selected me as one of the Laureates for the 2016 World Food Prize. I thank you for your warm reception and your hospitality. When I was a young girl my ambition was to someday grow food for Africa. My family was baffled by this because -- for the island cannot be described as having fertile land, the climate there is dry. Well, I'm glad that I pursued those dreams. So, today I stand before you all to express my deepest gratitude to those who have made this recognition possible. It has been a long journey involving many people without which this outcome would not be possible. I have been encouraged by my colleagues to work hard and perform better. I have been galvanized by the poverty, the need for change and the residents of the rural African population. As humans, we are happy to be recognized and so am I. But this honor is recognition of the hard work of all scientists in agriculture throughout the world and in particular those in Africa. It shines light on the potential place of the women scientists in Africa. Mr. Chairman, I would like to finally thank to all those who have in any way contributed to the work that I have done, the support and encouragement provided by the International Potato Center in Peru and in the region, the governments of countries in Africa, especially in southern Africa and in eastern Africa, my collaborators Dr. Robert Mwanga, Jan Low and Howarth Bouis is particularly noted. The beneficiaries with whom I have worked are my key source of inspiration and I thank them deeply. As as a working single mother bringing up my children they have had to make many sacrifices without which I would have failed. I thank them with all my heart. I would also like to thank God for guidance throughout this journey. Thank you all very much for your presence, your attention and your kindness.

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Mwanga: Distinguished guests -- I treasure these statements made all the time in the U.S. in God we Trust, on all U.S. bills. God Bless America. Almost all the time a prayer made by U.S. presidents when they end their speeches. My immeasurable gratitude therefore goes first to God the Almighty and to you all Americans for the freedom and justice you have showed the world today. How else could Robert Mwanga from village in Uganda have gone to one of the best universities in the U.S. and eventually become a 2016 Laureate? I am flattered with gratitude and overjoyed and do not have the words to thank the World Food Prize team that selected the 2016 Laureates because the work for which the award is being given is complex. And the World Food Prize Foundation for accepting the results, highlighting the ideals of saving lives and preventing children from going blind. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their vision and huge investment, USAID -- the National Development Research Center and many other donors and numerous partners and farmers for investing in the orange fleshed sweet potato. My organization, the International Development Center Harvest Plus for illuminating us and Dr. Lawrence Kent for his boldness and encouragement. My late mother for teaching me how to read at an early stage and for her hard work. My wife and two sons for giving me courage at all times. My CIP colleagues and the National Agricultural Organization in Uganda and the schools and universities where I studied and the government of Uganda for making me what I am. May God bless you all abundantly.

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Bouis: Good evening. My heartfelt thanks to the Harvest Plus family. You are the Laureates. The scientists, those getting the crops out to farmers and consumers, support staff, managers, analysts, donors, partners, communicators and those who advocate for biofortification. Thank you for your dedication for applying your many diverse talents to realize our collective vision. Thank you Ambassador Quinn and those associated with the World Food Prize for this personal honor. And my family, Christina, Andrew, Liz, Margie, all who have loved and supported me. I am a researcher at heart. I enjoy science. But I have discovered that my real passion is to use science to have impact. I have learned that science can only serve the poor if we scientists actively take leadership in motivating and organizing the many actors and institutions involved in bringing new agricultural technologies to farmers and consumers. The next step for biofortification is to go to scale globally. My hope is that biofortification can serve as a motivational example of how public investments in agriculture and nutrition can alleviate terrible suffering around the world and so bring global justice and peace nearer for future generations. Thank you again.

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Low: It has been a long, bumpy road for 20 odd years striving to overcome the doubts and fears. We had faith in this humble storage root, OFSP's healthiness and resilience is beyond dispute. But getting investment in a crop grown by poor women required proving that the orange ones help those to whom it was given. The sweet that gives health became the logo of our campaign and our vehicles and wardrobes have never been the same, some even thought we were rather insane. But our team's passion and purpose have never wavered because Dr. Borlaug had already shown the way. When passion joins with purpose one cannot be swayed. Deepest thanks to my family and friends for always supporting us along the way. Our deepest joy is watching children consume their first biofortified root and proving the odds for healthy lives to be lived. This is the power of agriculture working for nutrition, a no brainer for improving the human condition. Thank you all.

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Quinn: Thank you for your wonderful -- to everyone watching on Iowa Public Television, on our global webcast, thank you for being with us for our 30th anniversary celebration. We'll see you again next year as we begin the next 30 years. Let's have one more round of applause for our Laureates.

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Pearson: It was a night of celebration, music and dialogue on the 30th anniversary of the World Food Prize. Thank you so much for joining us for tonight's look at food and hunger issues. All four Laureates were honored for their battle against malnutrition and so-called hidden hunger across the globe. The work of 21st century agriculture continues on the programs of Iowa Public Television including our longtime agribusiness program Market to Market. For our entire IPTV crew here at the Statehouse in Des Moines, I'm Mike Pearson. Thanks for joining us tonight.

Funding for the 2016 World Food Prize has been provided by Friends, the Iowa Public Television Foundation. And a grant from the W.T. & Edna M. Dahl Trust.