World Food Prize Symposium Taking Place in Des Moines

World Bank, Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Leaders Headline The 2008 Borlaug Dialogue to discuss global food crisis.

Over 40 speakers from more than 15 countries will address a crowd of around 500 ag and food policymakers from all over the world regarding the global food crisis. They are gathered in Des Moines this week for one of America's foremost conferences on international agriculture and food policy, the World Food Prize's Foundation's Borlaug Dialogue. This year's focus and the overall theme of the 2008 World Food Prize Symposium is "Confronting Crisis: Agriculture and Global Development in the Next Fifty Years."

The event will be held in downtown Des Moines Oct. 15 -17 as part of the awarding of the $250,000 World Food Prize to former U.S. Senators Robert Dole and George McGovern. Policymakers, industry officials and executives, and agriculture and science experts from around the world will attend.

"This symposium will present an opportunity for global leaders to take stock of current trends in agriculture and assess the extent to which current challenges or promises will impact food production, food security, the environment and global development over the long-term," says Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation. "With the array of speakers attending the conference, the 2008 Borlaug Dialogue will offer the most comprehensive look at the various elements of the global food crisis."

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank
  • Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the global development program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation
  • Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique
  • Ed Schafer, U.S. secretary of agriculture
  • Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs
  • Daphrose Gahakwa, Rwandan minister of education, science, technology and research
  • Speciosa Wandira, former Ugandan vice president and minister of agriculture
  • Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank
  • Ren Wang, director of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
  • Namanga Ngongi, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Other speakers and attendees will include high-level leaders and CEOs of USDA, the World Food Program, the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council, the Alliance to End Hunger, multiple agribusiness and food companies, and universities and research institutions from around the world.

"This is an important gathering at an important time," says Rajiv Shah, director of agricultural development for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "As these experts know, the world can no longer afford to neglect agricultural development. A renewed focus on helping small farmers increase their yields and incomes is key to driving massive poverty reduction and helping hundreds of millions of people lead healthy, productive lives."

Through presentations and conversation sessions, the conference will address various topics including: rising food costs; climate change and biodiversity loss; trade reform and economic growth; urbanization and development; gender equity; the role of the private sector; and the challenge of bringing the Green Revolution to Africa. For more information go to

The annual Borlaug Dialogue is named in honor of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug, who founded the World Food Prize in 1986. Several heads of state have called the annual $250,000 award "the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture" and the event regularly draws participants from over 65 countries to Des Moines. Borlaug grew up on a farm at Cresco, Iowa and became a plant breeder and is known as the Father of the Green Revolution.

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