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SPEAKER: Good evening, everyone, and welcome. We're going to start in just about two minutes. If you could please find a chair or head across the hall to the Ruan Laureates Room. We're pleased to welcome you here.
KEN QUINN: So welcome. Welcome to Norm Borlaug's house, the Norman Borlaug Hall of Laureates. Today is the perfect day for this ceremony. Any of you haven't met me, my name is Ken Quinn. I'm president of the World Food Prize for a few more months, and this is my last Borlaug Field Award Ceremony. And I think it's the biggest and the most well-attended. And the other side of the hall is packed, so it's going to be a wonderful, wonderful evening.
I want to acknowledge our chairman, John Ruan on the 3rd. John, thank you for being here. This is the house that John Ruan built, or refurbished, I should say. And he had the vision that the World Food Prize could make this our home. And his family, he announced in 2001 on this day, a very, very generous $5 million contribution that then led to a $36 million fundraising campaign. And we turned the Des Moines Public Library into the Norman Borlaug Hall of Laureates. So yeah, thank you, John.
Of course, our 2019 laureate Simon Groot. Is here Simon was just outside. We were dedicating a tree in the Ruan Garden with Louise Fresco from our council of advisors. And we're hoping, you know, there's a play A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. So we're hoping that a tree will grow in Des Moines, planted by [INAUDIBLE] University.
So ministers, Minister Villalobos, welcome back to Des Moines. So wonderful to have you with us. We're all looking forward to your luncheon keynote address tomorrow. That's Minister Mukeshimana from Rwanda, and my dear friend, and my dear friend Chanthol Sun, the minister of public transport from Cambodia here today. Well, they had a gangbusters session on recovering in agriculture, bringing peace following genocide. So I hope you were there to hear. They were so impassioned and so powerful.
So today is UN World Food Day all around the world. I kind of like to poke a little fun at my friends at the UN in Rome, that, hey, we've got 17 World Food Prize Laureates here. So I think we've got more life-saving achievement here than any place else on our planet. So all of our laureates here, thank you for coming back, making this event so very special.
The Attorney General of Iowa Tom Miller is here. Tom, thank you so much. Great, great friend, the World Food Prize. And I grew up together in Dubuque, Iowa, and he went on to great success, and I'm here. And that's, yeah.
No, no. We're very close friends. But today in Iowa, as he knows, it's Norman Borlaug World Food Prize Day. And this is a day of recognition enacted by our legislature. There's only two in the history of Iowa days. One is for Herbert Hoover.
I hope you go up to the Iowa Gallery afterwards and see the paintings up there about Herbert Hoover, a man who fed Europe. Huh, it's not? Well, you know, I can't be-- you know, I'm from Iowa. I have to act humble. So last night an incredibly generous moment, John Ruan unveiled that the Iowa Gallery is dedicated now in my name. So it's the--
So it's the Ambassador Kenneth Quinn Iowa Gallery, which touched my heart. And then took me inside and unveiled this most incredible, incredible portrait of me, and sort of knocked my socks off and back on my heels. And last night when everybody had left, I just went up and sat in front of it, and I said, this has got to be a dream.
So I hope you'll go up and take a look, and let us know what you think, whether the artist is [? a rose ?] friend, and has captured me or not. So I wasn't going to say that, but he made me do that.
So in 2011, as we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the World Food Prize, and the Rockefeller Foundation was celebrating its centennial, the president Judith Rodin came to Des Moines, went to our Laureate Awards Ceremony, and announced a grant of $1 million to the World Food Prize to endow a prize named in honor of Norman Borlaug, to capture what he achieved very early in his career as a young scientist in Mexico. There's the tapestry over here of him in Mexico, where he was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.
And so tonight, we will have a ceremony to present for the eighth time the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation. So it has to be a big award to get all that name on it. But we we're so grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation.
And my very, very good friend Roy Steiner is here tonight, and Roy has some really very exciting news about new endeavors by Rockefeller. So I said, you've got to tell everybody about it. This is the right moment. This is the Rockefeller moment in the week of the World Food Prize, and he agreed to do that. And so I'm going to have Roy come and tell you what's happening at Rockefeller, and then, and then we will present the shorthand Borlaug Field Award to our recipient. Roy?
ROY STEINER: Thank you, Ambassador Quinn. I'm so glad we have a gallery named after you. You really deserve it. That makes me really happy.
It's a real honor to be standing here before you. I know as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation and my colleagues Sarah Farrah Farley and Bridget Carle, former colleagues Bob Hurd and Akin Adesina, I think we all really recognize the importance and legacy of the Rockefeller Foundation, and the fact that Norman Borlaug actually was an employee of the Rockefeller Foundation for over 40 years. I mean, that's a really long period of time. And so he was one of my predecessors, so the bar is really, really high. Hopefully I can get maybe 10% of the way there.
I'd like to share with you very briefly some of the strategic direction that our board has just approved, because at the end of the day, we don't go very far if we don't collaborate with others. And so this is my sharing of what we're aiming to do, but also what we hope will galvanize others to join with us.
When we step back and look at the last 50 years, there's been some pretty extraordinary advances led by Norman Borlaug. We are at the brink of actually solving hunger in the planet, right? We can achieve that in our generation. Over the course of homo sapien history, that's pretty extraordinary. So we should definitely pride ourselves in that.
The challenge, of course, is the food system is also facing new challenges that even 10 years ago weren't so clear. Everybody knows and we've been discussing at the conference around climate change. The food system contributes a significant part of global greenhouse gases.
But even more significantly, the food system now, diet is now the number one cause of early mortality, more than any other cause-- tobacco, infectious disease, et cetera. So what we're eating is actually damaging human well-being, and we need to address that. The food system is the solution to both the health issue and the climate issue, and we as a food system community need to rise to that challenge.
So we've optimized the food system for calories and yield. Those things don't go away. But we now need to think about these new objectives and really build them in. When we started, we stepped back and looked at, what is the impact of poor diet on the planet? It's pretty extraordinary.
So if you were in my session this morning, you can't answer this question. But if you weren't, I want you to guess, what is the total cost of one non-communicable disease, diabetes, the one died-related disease, over the course of one year in the United States? So lean, tell your neighbor what you think it is. So it's a big number. Just guess, OK? Can anybody guess? Just guess. Be brave. Just guess in one year, the cost of diabetes.
ROY STEINER: All right. I will tell you the answer. It's $327 billion. So when I asked this question even to public health officials and to doctors, they usually guess between 3 billion and 30 billion. How many people guessed kind of in that range? How many people got even over a hundred billion? Anybody guess more? OK, a few people who knew the answer because I told them this morning.
So I think we have just this tsunami of health care costs. It's hitting our society and every society on the planet, and we need to address that. And diabetes is just one of those things. Within the next couple of decades, 600 million people will be diagnosed with diabetes. When US soldiers went to Iraq and Afghanistan, in the last 18 years, they suffered 1,700 amputations, which is terrible. But last year alone, there were 83000 amputations from diabetes in the United States alone.
The scope of diet-related disease is really quite extraordinary, and we haven't calibrated to that, and we need to start addressing that. Because if we don't our food system is going to bankrupt our health care system. If we're going to have a health care system that's viable, we have to get our food system right.
When I've talked to a lot of scientists in terms of nutrition, they introduced us to the idea of what we call protective foods. This is where the science is really clear that the more you eat of these foods, you're protected from disease. And these are things like legumes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, et cetera.
And so we've adopted this phrase, "protective foods that protect the planet." We need to have a food system that protects human beings, but also protects the environment. When I list off, these are foods you should eat, everybody goes, well, that's what my mother told me. What's new here, right? We all have mothers who cared for our health.
What is new is actually the science is telling us for the first time exactly how these foods are contributing to health, and we're starting to understand how far off we are from optimal consumption. So the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is a project that Bill Gates put $400 million in, because he was frustrated with the WHO not having good health data, produces something called the Global Burden of Disease Report every year.
And they started looking at diet, and it's really through-- we funded them to look at what's optimal diet and what are people consuming? And it is extraordinary. We're consuming at only 50% of what we should be consuming in terms of vegetables, fruits, et cetera. And this is a worldwide problem. Only 10% of Americans eat optimal quantities of fruits and vegetables. Only 10% of Ethiopians eat optimal quantities of fruits and vegetables. So this is something that is not a north or south issue. This is everywhere in the world. Obviously, it differs in different places. But we are under-consuming the foods that make us healthy and we need to address that and shift diets in order to make that happen.
So we are going to be doing, the Rockefeller Foundation is going to be working in three spheres. In the United States, we think there are some real levers around demand. And we think we need to get unlikely allies like health insurers, and hospital systems, and city governments, and school districts to really start shifting the demand for healthy food.
So there's two things we're working on, something called part of the Our Food is Medicine Program, which is to get produce prescription programs, allowing doctors to write prescriptions for fruits and vegetables, and the health insurance company to pay for it. Turns out, it is amazing return on investment. Geisinger Health did this project where they did poorly managed diabetes patients, puts them on a one-year proper nutritious diet. It cost them $2,400 per patient, but they saved $40,000 to $200,000 per patient. So just getting people to eat the right food and in a proper way can save tremendous amounts of money for health insurance companies. So that's one area that we're going to be exploring.
The other, obviously, is with schools, and military bases, and hospitals, where we can shift diets, and getting really high-quality food to our children. Which right now, we're not feeding our children quality diets, and we all know that that is unacceptable. So that's in the United States.
In East Africa, there are still tremendous problems with actually access to proper food and protective foods. And so we're going to be doing a lot of work with small and medium-sized enterprises, using venture capital as a way to stimulate supply chains that deliver these protective foods. There's still a big issue around food waste and food loss, something we've been investing in for the last seven years. We'll build upon that so that we can get these healthy foods into the hands of poor and vulnerable populations.
We're also going to be looking at what exactly do we know in these populations around consumer demand? How do you shift behavior? Getting people to shift diet is not easy, all right? It's very hard to do. And if you can't get tasty food that's cost-effective and convenient, you're not going to be able to do the shifts we need. And so what do we understand about that?
So we're going to be forming a research consortium with a number of other funders to really help understand the underlying dynamics that's needed in order to shift consumption in East Africa, in particular. And then at the global level-- I'm almost done.
KEN QUINN: Just give us a million dollars.
ROY STEINER: That gave me another minute? OK, awesome.
KEN QUINN: Take two.
ROY STEINER: Take two. Oh, is that going to cost me $2 million?
All right. And finally, we did this really interesting review of the way the world is thinking about the future, looking at all the books and movies about the future. And when you do that, it's hundreds. But almost 98% of all books and movies about the future are dystopian. They're very dark. It's Mad Max, and Hunger Games, and Black Mirror, and Handmaid's Tale. It just goes on and on. We've become very good at describing the future we don't want. We're actually quite bad at describing the future we actually want.
And there's a problem with that. There's a parable in the Bible that says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." And I think we're in a culture that's in danger of perishing because we can't envision what is possible.
And so to address that, to help unleash the creativity we need, to get us to be thinking in new ways, the Rockefeller Foundation will be launching at the end of this month our Food System Vision Prize, which no one's actually ever done before. We've done lots of innovation prizes. Vision is something we've got to figure out what that is, but we do have a prize for it now. And the goal is to get local, regional groups to actually describe their food system in 2050 if we make all the right decisions.
And it'll be, really, a system vision, so you can't just take one aspect of your food system. You actually have to think holistically in a way that integrates everything from the environment, to technology, to culture, to policy. And we're not used to thinking that way, and that's hard to do, but that is what philanthropy should be doing. We should be pushing people so that we are actually envisioning a world that's better, that's more just, that's more peaceful, that's nourishing, and that's regenerative.
So we really hope to partner with everybody in this room. The food system is the solution to so many of the world's problems, and this is one of the most important groups of people on the planet, in my opinion, my humble opinion. So I'm delighted to be here, and thank Ambassador Quinn for the opportunity to share briefly what we've been doing.
KEN QUINN: So Rockefeller is so incredible. I'm sure I'll be back in this room for further events, but this is the last time in the official World Food Prize Week World Food Prize events I'll do something here in this room with the portrait of Norm that I commissioned. So it's a little emotional for me to have this award that we work together with a wonderful team at Rockefeller to put in place.
It's really helpful to have norms two children here. Jeanie Borlaug-Laube, Bil Borlaug, thank you for always being here at our World Food Prize events, and with your daughter Julie. And having you here in the Borlaug ballroom, your dad looking down on us, so makes a very special atmosphere.
And we also have two BFA, as we call the Borlaug Field Award, winners here with us. Bram Govaerts, where's Bram over there-- from a Belgian working in Mexico, so he kind of counts as a two over there. But I know, minister, that you know Bram well. And Matt Rouse? There's Matt back here.
So this award turns up these young scientists. And every time, it's-- Aditi Mukherji from India. You have to make sure I get them all. Ellen keeps track. And there Charity Mutegi, Andrew Mude from Kenya, and working in Ethiopia. Eric Pullman, an American working in Rwanda minister, with the one acre [INAUDIBLE]. And Zhenling Cui from China. So there have been a really wonderful, diverse group of young scientists. And tonight, we add another dynamic, terribly impressive young scientist to this group of amazing individuals.
I am so pleased to be able to tell you, and we'll introduce Dr. Hale Ann Tufan, who's here, our recipient of the 2019 Borlaug Field Award. But I want you to know what she's done to earn this, and that our jury selected her from many. I tell you, this is not an easy win. It's like the World Food Prize Laureates. There are a lot of strong candidates.
But to see why she stood out, I'm going to have Ellen Franzenburg, the director of our secretariat operations, who manages all of these processes so magnificently in addition to being the director of her international internship program. Nobody has just one job at the World Food Prize. Ellen, would you come up and provide the statement of achievement for Dr. Tufan?
ELLEN FRANZENBURG: Dr. Hale Ann TUfan, the principal investigator of the Gender-Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation Project, known as GREAT, is recognized tonight for championing gender-supportive activities within the global agricultural research community and working across disciplines to ensure women farmers and scientists are fairly represented in the lab, in the field, and at the table.
Though now one of the most powerful voices for gender in agricultural research, Dr. Tufan's career did not start out with that as her focus. After receiving her PhD in biology from John Innes Centre in the United Kingdom, she joined the CIMMYT International Winter Wheat Improvement Program in her native Turkey as an assistant wheat breeder. And in the course of her education and early career, Dr. Tufan realized that many improved crop varieties were not being adopted by farmers.
Through talking with them, she discovered that one of the biggest reasons for this was that researchers were not taking gender into account in plant breeding, and as a result, were ignoring the needs of a large number of farmers. In 2012, Dr. Tufan joined Cornell University's College of Ag and Life Sciences to manage the Next-Generation Cassava Project. She worked across multiple partner institutions in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Brazil, Colombia, and the United States to design and implement a gender-responsive cassava breeding initiative to reach women farmers.
In 2015, Dr. Tufan secured a five-year $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her brainchild, the GREAT Project. Dr. Tufan's GREAT trains agricultural scientists in sub-Saharan Africa to conduct research that better addresses the needs and circumstances of both men and women farmers. She pushes plant breeders to think of end users as clients, which leads to higher adoption rates for new varieties.
Under Dr. Tufan's leadership, researchers from 18 countries and 22 institutions in Africa have been trained in one of GREAT's courses. Through GREAT, Dr. Tufan fun also led the creation of a Center of Excellence for Gender and Agricultural Research at Makerere University in Uganda. Dr. Tufan's work is changing how agricultural research is carried out around the world and how the research community views gender. Her enthusiasm and results-driven approach have let her develop and lead programs that will benefit all smallholder farmers and incorporate women farmers into the research value chain.
As Dr. Norman Borlaug went beyond breeding to work across disciplines and national borders to take it to the farmer, so too has Dr. Tufan advanced well beyond her field through constantly seeking to address barriers to women's success and shape new ways of thinking about agricultural science to create a more equitable society. For all these achievements, the World Food Prize Foundation with the Rockefeller Foundation are beyond pleased to present the Borlaug Field Award to Dr. Hale Ann Tufan.
KEN QUINN: Dr. Tufan, please come up to the stage, and I'll ask Roy Steiner to join. [INAUDIBLE] up here. And we will present the plaque to you here. So come in the middle here. OK, Dr. Tufan's a working mom and busy, so we didn't have time to-- note, presenting with the tie over the drape [INAUDIBLE].
And Roy, if you would [INAUDIBLE]. Congratulations.
HALE ANN TUFAN: Thank you Ambassador Quinn and Ellen for that wonderful introduction. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It's an absolute honor and privilege to be standing in front of you as the eighth Norman Borlaug Field Award recipient. Although they're bestowed on individuals, awards really recognize the contributions of many. I'm deeply appreciative of all of those who are not on stage with me, but without whom I would have never made it here. My husband, whose unpaid care work at home and daily sacrifices make my career possible.
He also extracts toddlers very effectively, as you all witnessed.
And our families, whose love and support guide us both. The many, many mentors and inspirational leaders who've paved my own path. The colleagues, collaborators, and field teams whose heavy lifting helped create the work that brought me here. And most importantly, I'm eternally thankful to women and men who gave their time, food, energy, and patience to research, even when there was no immediate reward offered.
Tonight, I joined an impressive cohort of hunger fighters, including crop breeders, economists, geographers, agronomists. I might, however, be the first molecular biologist to win this award not for my work on genes, but on gender. Reaching different identities is perhaps in my blood. As the daughter of a Turkish father and an American mother, I grew up in a household where Christmas and Eid were equally festive and important.
Being a city kid, I never imagined working in agricultural development, at least not until I read about Norman Borlaug, who lived and breathed his mission. Some of his last words were, "Take it to the farmer." But who did Dr. Borlaug have in mind when he was thinking of the farmer? Please join me for a quick exercise.
Picture in your mind a farmer. Who do you see? Is it a man? Is it a woman? Are they young? Are they old? Where are they from? What are they growing? Are they standing next to a tractor? Are they holding a hoe? This first instinct of mental impression is revealing of our personal position, our norms, stereotypes, biases, and beliefs. Whether we realize it or not, these play into everything we do.
Now, consider this. What if our collective mental imagery of the farmer and our imagination of what his, her, or their life should look like is shaping the development agenda? And what if we're perpetuating gender inequality? Are we taking it to all the farmers?
Gender determines what a farmer has the right to access-- land, labor, inputs, information, credit, technology, markets, machinery, and much, much more. Women and girls face systematic barriers to owning and managing farms, yet they tend to fields planted with varieties they had no control over the development of. Caught up in applying the latest technologies or ideas, do we sometimes forget a simple truth, that crop breeding is more about people than plants? Homes, villages, marketplaces are not controlled environments. Every decision, every action that occurs in people's lives happens in a social context. Gender is an inescapable part of this.
As we were designing a survey question, recently a colleague commented, we're talking about varieties here. Owning a radio is not going to influence what a farmer chooses to grow. Normalized assumptions like this are fundamentally flawed. Farmers' access to information impacts lives and decisions in countless ways, yet we ignore these when we focus on plants and not people.
Hearing similar statements repeatedly is what sparked my own transformation and made me question, how could we completely insulate an important life decision from farmers' lives? We may continue producing varieties that won't get adopted or miss poverty alleviation goals if genetic gains do not translate to equity gains for women and girls.
And as much as gender influences the lives of farmers, it influences our lives. The institutions we work in are social [? in ?] spaces, and they still largely favor men. How many institutions are led by women? How many programs? How many World Food Prize winners are women? If in our own institutions and programs we continue to create barriers for women, how can we expect to remove barriers for women smallholder farmers?
Dr. Borlaug's message to take it to the farmer was a wake-up call, but it's increasingly clear that to really fulfill his vision, we need to listen to unheard voices. Unlike plants, people can tell us what they want and need. Women do have voices. To hear them, we have to build bridges between crop improvement and social sciences, between the lab bench and the village bench. We also need to look inside ourselves to question our assumptions and to identify our internalized norms around gender, which we project onto our work and the populations we serve.
If a molecular biologist can receive the Norman Borlaug Field Award for her work on gender, we all have the capacity to change ourselves and our institutions. Let's not just take it to the farmer. Let's take it to all the farmers. Thank you.
KEN QUINN: So Dr. Tufan, I think it's fair to say that you have continued the tradition that every winner so far, including Bram and Matt, get up here as an under 40-year-old scientist, agricultural specialist, and leave as one of the next-generation leaders of global agriculture. That's what this award does, and identifies individuals like yourself, who offer such an incredibly stirring message. It's the same every year, comes from them. And now, you are like Bram, and Matt, and others, on a different platform, a different pedestal, with a voice of greater resonance than before.
And so we all congratulate you. I want to be sure you notice that in designing Dr. Borlaug's ballroom, in these wonderful tapestries that were created, we have two women farmers from the Punjab and an African woman farmer and her daughter, because this guy, he was in for all the farmers.
Thank you all for being here. Please come out and enjoy a wonderful reception with us. Tour the building. If you make it upstairs, that'd be great there. But let's have one more round of applause for Dr. Hale Ann Tufan.
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Hale Ann Tufan delivers a powerful message for gender equality during her acceptance speech for the 2019 Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. Tufan, co-director of Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) and adjunct assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), was recognized for championing gender-supportive activities within the global agricultural research community. Her advocacy across disciplines has shifted crop improvement and agriculture research to include all people and genders.