By Kathryn Ingerslew
CIUDAD OBREGÓN, Mexico – Jeanie Borlaug-Laube reflected on growing up in Mexico and the impact of that life on her family, including her father, Norman Borlaug. On March 25, the day the new Norman Borlaug statue was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, she sent a video with her remarks to the Borlaug 100 meeting in Cd. Obregon.
Jeanie, grateful for her upbringing in a multi-cultural community, felt the Mexican people were always warm and hospitable. She attended a bilingual school where half of the day she spoke English, and half Spanish.
Growing up, the Borlaug family spent Sundays in the field with their father at Chapingo Autonomous University. Though the children saw their father bagging wheat and taking measurements, they were unaware of the importance of his research until he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.
Outside of his time as a researcher and a humanitarian, Borlaug made it obvious how important he believed teaching was. He consistently reminded Jeanie and her siblings that an education was one thing that can never be taken away from them.
Jeanie said that Borlaug would encourage young people to “fight for what the rest of the world deserves.” He had to fight, she said, to get wheat varieties into India, Pakistan and Turkey, using his trademark determination and collaboration skills with politicians, researchers, and seed distributers. Jeanie remarked that Borlaug would encourage all participants of Borlaug 100 to continue to work toward collaboration and advancement of biotechnology to reach the goal of feeding a growing population.