The State of Iowa will install a bronze statue of Norman Borlaug, Ph.D., the famous agricultural scientist and humanitarian who saved millions of lives worldwide, in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 25, the centennial anniversary of Dr. Borlaug’s birth.
Borlaug's guiding mission in life was that "Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world" and he worked tirelessly to improve agriculture, nutrition, and the food system for people around the globe. Borlaug founded The World Food Prize in 1986 with the hope that it would come to be seen as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture” to recognize and inspire breakthrough achievements in feeding the world. His prodigious achievements earned him the title, “Father of the Green Revolution,” and his statue being installed in the U.S. Capitol will be of great significance to people and farmers everywhere.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders made the announcement today, and Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, along with Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, President of Borlaug’s World Food Prize Foundation, held a press conference to celebrate this momentous occasion and kick off Borlaug Centennial events.
“The unveiling with be a historic event and celebration of Dr. Borlaug’s legacy. His agricultural innovations saved an estimated billion people around the world from hunger and starvation,” Governor Branstad said. “It is a fitting tribute that our state and nation will honor Dr. Borlaug on the 100th anniversary of his birth and on National Agriculture Day.
Dr. Borlaug, a Cresco, Iowa, native, dedicated his life to breeding better varieties of wheat, and working with farmers and politicians alike to improve methods and policies to alleviate hunger and malnutrition worldwide. His achievements earned him the distinction of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honor. In all history, only two other Americans have won that trifecta: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Elie Wiesel.
“From our decade of working together, I knew Dr. Borlaug – our state’s and our country’s greatest agricultural scientist – to be the most humble, hard-working and inspiring person I ever encountered,” said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of Borlaug’s World Food Prize Foundation and the Chairman of Iowa’s Borlaug Statue Committee. “At The World Food Prize, his legacy lives on through our annual prize, our Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, and our youth programs including the Borlaug-Ruan International Internships, and now with a new website to honor Dr. Borlaug, we hope to engage thousands of people around the globe to help fight hunger.
The World Food Prize launched an interactive website where visitors can post what they’ll do this year in honor of the Borlaug Centennial to help feed the world, at www.worldfoodprize.org/norm. In addition, The World Food Prize will host several activities and events throughout the year to honor Borlaug.
The statue of Borlaug in the U.S. Capitol was made possible in 2011, when the Iowa Legislature approved a resolution and Governor Branstad appointed the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee to raise funds and commission an artist to design, create and install a statue of Borlaug into the U.S. Capitol Building. After conducting a worldwide artist search, the committee chose Benjamin Victor of South Dakota. DuPont Pioneer and an anonymous donor offered financial support for the project.
Each state is represented by two statues of notable citizens in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol Building. The statue of Borlaug will replace the statue of U.S. Senator James Harlan installed in 1910, which will be relocated to Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The second statue representing Iowa is of Governor Samuel Kirkwood, which was installed in 1913.
More information about the statue project is available at www.iowaborlaugstatue.org, including information about related events and activities. People are also encouraged to watch a webcast of the statue unveiling ceremony, which will take place on March 25 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, at www.speaker.gov/live. People can learn more about Dr. Borlaug, celebratory events worldwide, and find ways to get involved in fighting hunger at www.worldfoodprize.org/norm.