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World Food Prize Foundation honors Annan in Ghana
The World Food Prize Foundation
presented its Norman E. Borlaug Medallion to Kofi Annan today, during the
first-ever African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in his home country of Ghana.
The Medallion recognizes world leaders whose actions have benefited mankind but
who would not normally be eligible for the World Food Prize.
The award is in recognition of Annan’s international leadership as
Secretary-General of the United Nations and as chairman of the board for the
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. In both roles, Annan has brought
significant attention to the issue of global food security, most notably in
establishing the UN Millennium Development Goals during his time at the United
“Over the past decade, no one has done more than Kofi Annan to bring attention
to the critical issue of global food security around the world nor in
fulfilling Norman Borlaug's dream of bringing the Green Revolution to
Africa," said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food
Prize Foundation. The World Food Prize Foundation was founded by the late Dr.
Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner who has been called the “father of
the Green Revolution” for his breakthroughs in wheat production that helped
save over a billion lives, and who had a passion for ending hunger in Africa.
“It is a great honor to receive this award in my home country Ghana. We are
making great strides in putting farmers and agriculture at the center of our
development,” said Annan, who received a standing ovation from over 600 people
in the audience. “Public and private partners are working closely together to
transform Africa’s agriculture to benefit smallholder farmers and increase food
security and nutrition in Ghana and across the continent.”
“We have left farmers to sink or swim without help for far too long,” Annan
said. “After decades of neglect, agriculture has returned to the development
agenda. Now it is time to bring together the many players – from farmers to
CEOs – to achieve rapid, large-scale results that will put an end to hunger and
Kofi Annan served as UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. As
Secretary-General, he was instrumental in laying out the Millennium Development
Goals, a strategy to meet the needs of the world's poorest by 2015. One of the
eight identified goals is to "eradicate extreme poverty and hunger."
One of the specific targets the UN hopes to meet is to "halve, between
1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger." In 2001,
Kofi Annan and the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize for these and
Annan is currently the chairman of the board of the Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA works to achieve a food secure and prosperous
Africa through the promotion of rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on
smallholder farmers. Smallholders--the majority women--produce most of Africa's
food. AGRA aims to ensure that smallholders have what they need to succeed:
good seeds and healthy soils; access to markets, information, financing,
storage and transport; and policies that provide them with comprehensive
support. Through developing Africa's high-potential breadbasket areas, while
also boosting farm productivity across more challenging environments, AGRA
works to transform smallholder agriculture into a highly productive, efficient,
sustainable and competitive system, and do so while protecting the environment.
This year, the World Food Prize’s annual international symposium will focus
specifically on “Taking it to the Farmer: Reaching the World’s Smallholders”
during a week of events, October 12-16, in Des Moines, Iowa. During that week
of events, the World Food Prize will also be awarded; this year’s honorees are
David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Jo Luck, president of
Quinn presented the medallion to Annan at Thursday's AGRF opening session. On
Friday, Quinn will also lead a conference session at the AGRF that focuses on
the work of Dr. Borlaug, and a panel of speakers will also discuss the ongoing
progress of bringing the next Green Revolution to Africa.
The World Food Prize was founded nearly 25 years ago by Norman Borlaug to
recognize and encourage achievements around the globe in food and agriculture.
It is awarded annually. Learn more about the World Food Prize at
The Norman E. Borlaug Medallion was created to recognize world leaders whose
actions have benefited mankind but who would not normally be considered for the
World Food Prize, which is primarily awarded to science, policy, and
development experts for a specific, exceptionally significant, individual
achievement along the full range of the food production and distribution chain.
The Norman E. Borlaug Medallion has only been awarded to two other people:
Yohei Sasakawa and the Nippon Foundation of Japan earlier this year, and His
Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 2007.
Dr. Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for a lifetime of work to
feed a hungry world, specifically for his achievements developing wheat new
varieties to fight famine around the globe. He started the World Food Prize in
1986 to recognize and inspire others to work toward the same mission; the prize
honors outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving
the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Laureates
have been recognized from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Denmark, Ethiopia,
India, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United
Nations and the United States. In 1990, Des Moines businessman and
philanthropist John Ruan assumed sponsorship of The Prize and established The
World Food Prize Foundation, located in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn has been president of the World Food Prize Foundation
since 2000, following a 32-year career in the U.S. Diplomatic Service. Inspired
by the vision of Dr. Norman Borlaug, Quinn has endeavored to build the annual
award into “the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.”
World Food Prize laureates joining Quinn at the AGRF will include Gebisa Ejeta,
2009 laureate and a distinguished professor of agronomy at Purdue University;
Monty Jones, 2004 laureate and executive director and head of mission for the
Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa; and Catherine Bertini, 2003 laureate
and cochair of the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development
By Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications, World Food Prize