TST & Stockbridge Valley FFA Members Participated in World Food Prize Global Youth Institute

The best and brightest students from 30 U.S. states and territories and six countries attended addresses by world renowned leaders, presented their own research, and joined in hunger relief efforts.

Eli Corning and Cassandra Proctor of the TST New Visions FFA Chapter in Tompkins County along with Serene Boronow of the Stockbridge Valley FFA Chapter in Madison County were among the select students nominated to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Oct. 15-17, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa, during the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, which drew 1,300 people from more than 60 countries to discuss the world’s hunger and food security issues.

The World Food Prize was founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug to recognize and inspire great achievements in improving the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.   The students were accompanied by their FFA Advisors, Michele Kline and Erin McCaffrey, both Farm Bureau members.  All expenses for students and their mentors were paid by the New York Youth Institute, a program organized by Cornell University.

This year’s World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium focused on the theme “Borlaug 101: Fundamentals of Global Food Security” and gave special emphasis on issues such as: Girls and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Aquaculture and Fisheries; Bio-Fortification; and Precision Agriculture. Global Youth Institute students and teachers had the opportunity to take part in symposium sessions with the top minds and foremost leaders in global agriculture, food, and development. 

Global Youth Institute students and their teacher mentors attended symposium sessions featuring:  

  • Her Excellency Joyce Banda, Former President, Malawi
  • The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, United States
  • Arni Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries & Aquaculture Department, UN Food & Agriculture Organization, Iceland
  • Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author, United States
  • The CEOs of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies: Cargill, DuPont, Elanco, Monsanto, PepsiCo, and Syngenta; and researchers, non-profit leaders and smallhold farmers from around the globe.

At the three-day Institute, Corning, Proctor, and Boronow, along with 200 other high school student participants of the program from across the United States and abroad researched global food security issues in the developing country of their choice and then submitted papers on those critical topics, which they also presented to a diverse group of internationally renowned World Food Prize Laureates and other distinguished experts and scientists.

Each student presented their paper on the theme "Sustainably Feeding 9 Billion by 2050” and took part in roundtable discussions with experts in industry, science, academia and policy on the culminating day of the program hosted by DuPont Pioneer at its Carver Conference Center in Johnston, Iowa. During the Institute, participants also helped with a hands-on service project packaging meals for Outreach, Inc., a hunger-fighting organization that serves people in the United States and internationally, toured innovative research and industrial facilities in Adel, Ankeny, Panora and Slater, Iowa – Hawkeye Breeders Service, AHC Food Companies/Tones, Early Morning Harvest Farms, and Syngenta Seeds, respectively – and took part in an interactive Oxfam Hunger Banquet that brought to life the realities of hunger and poverty.

Created by Dr. Borlaug and Iowa businessman John Ruan in 1994, the Global Youth Institute today receives major support from Clay Mathile and the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition. The program was developed to challenge and inspire participating student-teacher teams to identify ways of alleviating hunger, and to expose the students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines. Of the students who complete the program, about 92% go on to pursue college degrees in agriculture and science and 77% choose careers in agriculture, STEM and other fields critical to the fight against hunger. The Institute also boasts an impressive, two-thirds participation by young women. Dr. Borlaug often stated, “I am certain that these students will become the future agricultural, scientific and humanitarian leaders in the fight to end hunger”.

At the Global Youth Institute, Corning, Proctor, and Boronow interacted with students and teachers from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota,  Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Canada, China, India, Kosovo, Mexico and Turkey.

Participants also viewed Iowa Public Television’s live coverage of the 2015 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony that honored Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh, this year’s Prize recipient and renowned founder and chairperson of BRAC, for his unparalleled achievement in building a unique, integrated development organization that many have hailed as the most effective anti-poverty organization in the world.  Sir Fazle, who was knighted by the British Crown in 2009, has grown BRAC (formerly known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) into the world’s largest non-governmental organization. BRAC has provided the opportunity for nearly 150 million people worldwide to improve their lives, have enhanced food security and follow a pathway out of poverty. The scale and impact of BRAC's work in Bangladesh and ten other countries is unprecedented. Read the full laureate story on the World Food Prize website. 

New York high school educators and students interested in participating in the 2016 Global Youth Institute should visit http://www.worldfoodprize.org/en/youth_programs/global_youth_institute/new_york/  for more information.     


ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE:  The World Food 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 to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. 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. 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.