Leading experts from the United Nations, USDA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are among more than 25 distinguished international presenters confirmed to address the 2006 World Food Prize International Symposium October 18-20 in Des Moines, Iowa. Over 500 people will attend the conference, which will attract participants from 65 countries around the globe.
This is the 20th anniversary of the World Food Prize. Keynote and featured speakers for the 2006 event will include:
Mike Johanns, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Josette Sheeran, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs
Dr. Luis Guedes, Minister of Agriculture of Brazil
Lulama Xingwana, Minister of Agriculture of South Africa
James Morris, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme
Dr. Rajiv Shah, Global Agriculture Director, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Other participants will represent Nestle, Kraft Foods, the World Bank, Wall Street Journal, the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, China Agricultural University and Harvard University. Speakers will focus on the challenges of feeding the world's exploding population in the face of challenges including political instability, climate change and severe poverty.
The symposium will honor 1970 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and World Food Prize Founder Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, who will also speak at the event. Dr. Borlaug's pioneering work in agriculture is estimated to have saved more than a billion people from starvation.
Focus on next 40 years and beyond
USDA will hold a special session on the $100 million U.S.-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative, announced by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this year.
The U.S. Agency for International Development's Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, chaired by Co-Founder of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa Peter McPherson, will hold its open forum on October 18 as a special precursor to the symposium.
"The breakthroughs of the Green Revolution averted the worldwide famine and starvation predicted by many experts nearly 40 years ago," said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation. "This year's symposium aims to lay the framework for the coming 40 years and beyond."
Three winners share $250,000 prize
The event will be held in conjunction with the awarding of the $250,000 World Food Prize to two soil scientists and a policy leader whose ingenuity led to the development of the Brazilian Cerrado for food production. The three men helped Brazil become an agricultural powerhouse. They are being honored for their roles in developing the Cerrado or "new lands" area of Brazil over the last 50 years.
Each recipient played a vital role in transforming the Cerrado into highly productive farmland. The Cerrado is a region of vast, once infertile tropical high plains stretching across Brazil. It is now one of the world's largest, most productive areas for growing soybeans and other agricultural crops.
The symposium agenda and speaker list are available at www.worldfoodprize.org/symposium/2006.htm.
Press may register for the event free of charge by visiting www.worldfoodprize.org/press.