The World Food Prize Foundation has announced that Paul and Claudia Schickler of Des Moines, Iowa, will commit $400,000 over the next three years to expand the foundation's Global Youth Institute to every Iowa high school beginning in 2012.
"Iowa plays a critical role in feeding the world. To meet that growing challenge, young people need a strong foundation in science and an appreciation for global issues," says Governor Terry Branstad. "I hope the Schicklers' leadership in enhancing education in Iowa will inspire others here and across the country to engage in developing young people to meet the pressing challenges we face."
Governor Branstad said he was pleased that this extension of programming would be done without any new state appropriation, adding that it was particularly appropriate to have this initiative announced in conjunction with the Iowa Education Summit, which will be held July 25-26. He noted that this initiative will bring significant added attention to the importance of emphasizing the study of science, technology and mathematics in high school.
"Claudia and I have been great admirers of the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute and we believe this program has significant potential for enhancing the study of science in high schools and getting students excited about careers in science," says Paul Schickler, long-time Des Moines resident and currently president of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. "We need all the bright minds we can find to meet the challenge of feeding the 9 billion people that will be on the planet in 2050."
Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, expressed his appreciation and that of John Ruan III, the chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation, for the generous contribution from the Schicklers.
"The Schicklers' support will allow the expansion of what is already a very successful program," notes Quinn. "Started 17 years ago, this youth education program was the vision of John Ruan Sr. and Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize and Iowa's most important humanitarian and agricultural hero. As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the World Food Prize this year, it is only fitting to build on Dr. Borlaug's legacy and expand our work with youth who will become the next generation of experts working in international food security and in confronting hunger."
As part of the expanded program, Iowa State University will host students chosen from each Iowa high school for one day each year and select the top students to attend the Global Youth Institute in October.
"Iowa State University is pleased to be able to play a critical role in building this expanded program into a model for all other land grant institutions," says ISU President Gregory Geoffroy, who is also a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors. "I look forward to seeing the first group of Borlaug Scholars come to campus for a daylong program in fall 2012, and to attend the Global Youth Institute."
Every year, participating students from high schools across the state research and write an essay on a particular food security topic. Starting in 2012, they will then gather together at Iowa State University for a daylong event. The top students from Iowa and several other states will be invited to attend the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, where they interact with experts at the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, tour research facilities and do other interactive and service-learning activities, and present their research findings to a panel of experts that include World Food Prize laureates and other renowned scientists. They are then eligible to apply for World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan International Internships, which are eight-week summer internships at research centers in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.