The World Food Prize Foundation announced today, that it will send 24 high school students abroad for the Borlaug-Ruan internship program at renowned international research centers and NGOs this summer. The students hail from Iowa and eleven other states and will delve into issues relation to global hunger and poverty, during an eight-week, all-expenses-paid internship in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The unique program, which was created by Dr. Norman Borlaug and John Ruan, Sr. in 1998, allows student interns to participate in projects with distinguished researchers at leading agricultural research centers around the globe. While getting a firsthand view of real and pressing food security issues and nutrition problems in poverty-stricken areas, the students become an integral part of a project, spending time in the lab as well as days or weeks at a time in the field conducting research and interviews, and gathering data.
Holly Enowski, a 2016 Borlaug-Ruan Intern from Eldon High School in Russellville, Missouri, spent her eight-week internship at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Mbita, Kenya last year. “My experience in Kenya left me with a determination to truly change the present hunger situation for all,” Enowski said. “I gained the independence, confidence and work ethic that have propelled my college career forward. I came back changed and it is my sincere hope that all of the 2017 Borlaug-Ruan Interns experience the same personal, professional and intellectual growth.”
The program has grown significantly over the past 19 years, initially sending just two students overseas the first year. Today, almost 300 young aspiring scientists have participated in the internship which has created a significant impact on their education and career choices.
During the orientation for the 2017 interns this past weekend World Food Prize President, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, spoke to the interns and expressed the importance of today’s generation in the fight against world hunger.
“If Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize, were here, he would tell you that nearly 1 billion people in the world still go hungry every day,” Quinn said. “He would add that as the world population increases towards 9 billion, and climate volatility increases, the next generation–your generation–will be charged with continuing the battle against hunger and finding new solutions to assure global food security.”
Dr. Borlaug and John Ruan Sr. believed that by engaging young students in actual hunger-fighting research through the World Food Prize youth education programs, they would be inspiring them to pursue academic and career paths in agricultural science, food technology and natural resource conservation.
“As you embark on your Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, be mindful that you are being prepared to become tomorrow’s innovative scientific and humanitarian leaders,” Quinn added.
The interns are involved in a myriad of global projects dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger such as: fisheries and aquaculture studies; plant biotechnology research; micro-credit and the women’s self-help concept; the influence of education on household food security; livestock value chains; and the calculation of Vitamin C concentration in numerous potato varieties.
A prerequisite for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship is attending the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute which occurs each October. Youth Institute participants present research papers and interact with World Food Prize Laureates and renowned experts to discuss issues relating to food security throughout the world.