Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad will join a group of Iowans on March 25 in Washington, D.C. for the official unveiling of the Norman Borlaug sculpture in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. "We'll have the entire Iowa Congressional delegation present along with students, teachers, business leaders and others," says World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn, who appeared with Branstad at a recent press conference at the State Capitol in Des Moines to make the announcement.
The State of Iowa will install a bronze statue of Dr. Borlaug, the famous agricultural scientist and humanitarian who saved millions of lives worldwide, in the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The unveiling ceremony will take place March 25, the 100th anniversary of Borlaug's birth. He died in 2009. Borlaug's achievements as an agronomist and plant breeder earned him the title "Father of the Green Revolution" and his statue being installed in the U.S. Capitol will be of great significance to people and farmers around the globe.
Beginning a year of Borlaug Centennial events
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders made the announcement on February 26, and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, along with Ken Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, held the press conference in Des Moines to celebrate this occasion and kick off the Borlaug Centennial events.
"The unveiling on March 25 will be a historic celebration of Dr. Borlaug's legacy. His agricultural innovations saved an estimated one billion people around the world from hunger and starvation," says Branstad. "It is a fitting tribute that our state and nation will honor Dr. Borlaug on the 100th anniversary of his birth and on National Agriculture Day."
Grew up on a farm near Cresco in northeast Iowa
Borlaug, who grew up on a farm near Cresco in northeast Iowa, dedicated his life to breeding better varieties of wheat, and working with farmers and politicians alike to improve methods and policies to alleviate hunger and malnutrition worldwide.
Borlaug's achievements earned him recognition as "Father of the Green Revolution" and the distinction of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian honor. In all of history, only two other Americans have won that trifecta: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Elie Wiesel.
"The global impact that Dr. Borlaug had is an example and a challenge to all of us as we look to the future and Iowa's role in feeding and fueling a growing world," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "The installation of this statue will be a great opportunity to celebrate Dr. Borlaug and help inspire others, especially our youth that he was so passionate about, through his amazing story."
Honoring Borlaug on National Agriculture Day
March 25, 2014 is also National Agriculture Day. Borlaug founded The World Food Prize in 1986 with the hope that it would come to be seen as the "Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture" to recognize and inspire breakthrough achievements in feeding the world. The WFP Foundation is headquartered in Des Moines.
"From our decade of working together, I knew Norman Borlaug, our state's and our country's greatest agricultural scientist, to be the most humble, hardworking and inspiring person I ever encountered," says Quinn, chairman of Iowa's Borlaug Statue Committee. "At The World Food Prize his legacy lives on through our annual prize, our Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, and our youth programs including the Borlaug-Ruan International Internships, and now with a new website to honor Dr. Borlaug, we hope to engage thousands of people around the globe to help fight hunger."
WFP's interactive website lets you post your thoughts
The World Food Prize has just recently launched an interactive website where visitors can post what they'll do this year in honor of the Borlaug Centennial to help feed the world, at www.worldfoodprize.org/norm. In addition, The World Food Prize will host several activities and events throughout this year to honor Borlaug.
The statue of Borlaug in the U.S. Capitol was made possible in 2011, when the Iowa Legislature approved a resolution and Gov. Branstad appointed the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee to raise funds and commission an artist to design, create and install a statue of Borlaug in the U.S. Capitol building. After conducting a worldwide artist search, the committee chose Benjamin Victor of South Dakota. DuPont Pioneer and an anonymous donor offered financial support for the project.
Each state is represented by two statues of the state's notable citizens in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol building. The statue of Borlaug will replace the statue of U.S. Sen. James Harlan installed in 1910, which will be relocated to Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The second statue representing Iowa is of Gov. Samuel Kirkwood, which was installed in 1913.
IPTV documentary Norman Borlaug: Journey To Statuary Hall
More information about the statue project is available at http://www.iowaborlaugstatue.org/, including information about related events and activities. People are also encouraged to watch a webcast of the statue unveiling ceremony, which will take place on March 25 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, at www.speaker.gov/live. People can learn more about Borlaug, celebratory events worldwide and find ways to get involved in fighting hunger at the World Food Prize website. Finally, you can see a preview of the Iowa Public Television documentary about the statue online.
The IPTV documentary Norman Borlaug: Journey to Statuary Hall, will air Tuesday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Friday, April 25 at 8:30 p.m. on statewide Iowa Public Television. The full program will also be available online.
The television documentary telling the story of Norman Borlaug and this statue will educate and remind all Iowans of their ties to his legacy. Viewers will get a behind the scenes look at how much work and determination went into this effort right here in Iowa and from coast-to-coast.
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 outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. Thirty-nine laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Israel, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. The World Food Prize also annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, and several youth education programs including the Global Youth Institute and Borlaug-Ruan International Internship to inspire the next generation to explore careers in agriculture and fighting hunger.