2021 World Food Prize Laureate

Last week, I announced the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate - the second person from the Caribbean, the first woman of Asian heritage and the seventh woman to receive the World Food Prize


Dr. Thilsted was chosen by our distinguished Laureate Selection Committee for her groundbreaking research, critical insights and landmark innovations in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquaculture and food systems. She looked beyond increasing food production to transforming all aspects of aquatic food systems to make them more resilient and sustainable and to positively impact nutrition, the environment, biodiversity, women, children, vulnerable communities and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and small business owners. She has worked for decades to feed people, and more importantly, to nourish them.

Dr. Thilsted is an inspiration to me and so many, including the numerous students and young professionals she has mentored. With her team, she extends the impact of fish and other aquatic foods to nourishing nations, enhancing environments, empowering women and boosting incomes to support achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In a year of work to advance the Decade of Action towards the SDGs, it is imperative that women leaders in food security and nutrition be elevated, their work recognized and scaled.

WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE we will welcome Dr. Thilsted to Des Moines, Iowa, in October for our annual events. She will formally receive the World Food Prize in an in-person award ceremony broadcast around the world for all to enjoy, and she will share her wisdom with participants of the Borlaug Dialogue and Global Youth Institute. We look forward to formally welcoming the 51st World Food Prize Laureate to our stage.


2021 WFPF October Events


This year, given the need for continued pandemic precautions, we will present our annual October Events in a hybrid format, with limited, in-person engagement and the majority of the programming offered virtually. The Global Youth Institute will also be conducted in a hybrid format with a small cohort of educators joining for our innovative Global Guides program and students participating virtually to ensure equitable and safe access for all delegates. We will build on the work and global activities proceeding since last year. 

The complex, interdisciplinary nature of food systems requires achievements and actions that address numerous vulnerabilities simultaneously. The years 2020-21 have brought challenges and opportunities for working towards the Decade of Action for the UN Sustainable Development Goals

We must build forward better from the conventional focus on increased agricultural productivity (e.g., the Green Revolution), toward achieving a safe, affordable, sustainable, equitable and nourishing food system. Any strides made in this Decade of Action will have to address the disproportionate impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The resonating effects on human health and food systems are resetting potential implementation of solutions.

The 2021 Borlaug Dialogue will spotlight several focal areas critical to food systems transformation, in addition to other key topics:

  • Research & Innovation: Scientific advancements and strong evidence-based innovation such as CRISPR, climate-smart technologies and digital applications are essential for effective food systems transformation. What are the latest scientific advancements and how are they being effectively deployed across diverse regions, countries and environments?

  • Gender Equity & Equitable Livelihoods: Actions that reverse gender inequities and advance equitable livelihoods must deliver comprehensive, action-oriented results. Focus must be directed towards land tenure, markets and finance, innovation and digital technologies, and diversified leadership opportunities at all levels. How will key actions support food systems improvements and transformation of marginalized communities, especially for women and children?

  • Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems: Nutrition must be prioritized throughout the food supply chain to achieve affordable healthy diets and dietary patterns. All sectors, especially private sector partners, have a critical role in increasing production of nutritious products for women and children in the first 1,000 days. Diverse protein sources such as aquatic foods, insects, soy and animal agriculture all have a role to play, but what is the right balance to meet nutrient requirements and reduce environmental impact?

 Solutions must be innovative, commitments must be bold and 
collective action must be systematic. 

This year, we are excited to announce Interactive Partner Workshops, as part of the Borlaug Dialogue. Workshops will be featured as part of the plenary agenda of the Dialogue, where Partners offer experiential learning opportunities that define key issues, explore problems, and share new strategies, tools and technologies in food systems. 

As always, we will continue to feature Partner Side Events that provide a space for organizations and initiatives to coordinate and execute their own unique event in conjunction with the Dialogue. We look forward to opening a new application process for workshops and side events in the coming weeks.

WATCH for more information soon about the Dialogue and the launch of
registration for October events!
Youth Institutes, Youth Voices &
the UN Food Systems Summit

Now, more than ever, all voices, especially the next generation of leaders, are contributing to dialogue, policy development and actionable solutions. As we come together as a global community to consider the most pressing priorities and action steps necessary, the values and insights of youth offer key guidance for healthy, resilient and sustainable food systems for all. 

We are proud to have partnered with the UN Food Systems Summit to convene our 2021 World Food Prize Foundation Youth Institutes as FSS Independent Dialogues. Thousands of youth leaders around the world are contributing their innovative ideas, perspectives, research and recommendations to the upcoming Summit, including our own Youth Institute Delegates. 

This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Iowa Youth Institute (IYI), our flagship program for elevating the innovative ideas of young leaders in Iowa. This model was adapted and expanded across 25 U.S. states and Honduras, the Netherlands and Sweden, and now provides students life-changing opportunities to connect with global leaders and explore hunger-fighting career paths in science, technology and agricultural innovation. 

To celebrate this special occasion, Iowa State University (ISU) and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) strengthened their commitment to young leaders and doubled the scholarship amount for each student who attends ISU CALS and was a participant of the IYI - now awarding $1,000 for each year of IYI participation! Additionally, ISU CALS is now offering a $6,000 scholarship for all students from outside Iowa selected to attend the World Food Prize Foundation Global Youth Institute! This incredible investment by ISU President Wendy Wintersteen and ISU CALS Dean Dan Robison offers great opportunities to young leaders for decades to come.
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