By Eric Knapp
DES MOINES, Iowa — Forty Members of the Borlaug Fellows Program from 12 countries studying at U.S. universities were honored Wednesday at a luncheon hosted by the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The luncheon was highlighted by emotional remarks from Jeanie Borlaug Laube, the daughter of Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug.
Brady J. Deaton, former University of Missouri chancellor, introduced Laube. She is the chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, an organization that aims to reduce the world’s vulnerability to stem, yellow and leaf rusts of wheat; facilitates the evolution of sustainable international partnerships to contain the threat of wheat rusts; and enhances world productivity to withstand future threats to wheat.
“This is the one thing my father always wanted — he wanted an interaction between people, and this is exactly what is being done by this group,” said Laube. “My dad would tell you that you should learn as much as you can while you are here and go back to your countries and continue to grow and engage your fellow countrymen and countrywomen to do the same thing. It takes all of us to work together to make a better world.”
Laube highlighted the importance of biotechnology as a tool for food security. She emphasized that her father would urge the Borlaug Fellows to harness all of the tools of biotechnology.
“We can’t be complacent while people starve. You fellows are the key to fighting hunger and poverty,” said Laube. “There will never be another Norman Borlaug. No one person can address the food security issues facing the world today. The next Green Revolution will be able to take a coordinated effort of plant scientists, researchers, farmers who vow to continue my dad’s work. The seeds of that effect are already planted in this room.”
Deaton expressed his pleasure in having the opportunity to meet and honor Norman Borlaug during his tenure as Chancellor of Mizzou.
“I must say, one of my great honors was being able to provide an honorary doctoral degree to Dr. Borlaug at the University of Missouri,” said Deaton. “We are very proud of him and we appreciate this opportunity to be involved with your family.”
The three groups that make up the Borlaug Fellows Program are the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development, and the Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program.