World Food Prize Laureates urge US President to make fighting global hunger a top priority

Des Moines, USA, 23 February 2021—Today, the World Food Prize Foundation released a powerful statement penned by 24 of its Laureates urging the Biden-Harris Administration to focus on alleviating hunger, poverty and malnutrition around the globe.

“US leadership is foundational if we are to transform food systems to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Lawrence Haddad, 2018 World Food Prize Laureate and Executive Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. “Our food systems are moving us in the wrong directions: “Our food systems are moving us in the wrong directions: hunger levels are rising, child undernutrition levels are at severe risk of rising, obesity is increasing, we are off track to meet climate targets, biodiversity is being squandered, not enough decent jobs are being created and community resilience is being undermined. But this moment in time has created an opportunity for everyone to think and act differently: with ambition, with solidarity and with lasting impact.”

The World Food Prize Laureates last came together for a global call to action 19 years ago. As the Biden-Harris administration begins, the World Food Prize Laureates call on the President to take immediate action to directly and fully address global hunger and food insecurity.

“American leadership on getting food systems right will inspire and embolden others to join forces to end hunger, counter climate change, generate jobs, and promote responsible stewardship of the environment,” the Letter reads.

The World Food Prize Foundation strongly supports its Laureates and echoes the need for US leadership on this global issue. “Dr. Norman Borlaug envisioned a prize to elevate the innovations that would inspire current and future leaders to increase the quality, quantity and availability of food for everyone,” said Barbara Stinson, President of the World Food Prize Foundation. “At this critical juncture in the US and globally, the Laureates’ call to leverage funding, alliances and leadership on behalf of transforming food systems is timely, focused on the urgency of US action to achieve zero hunger by 2030.”

“For millions of poor people around the world, the risk of dying from hunger is greater than dying from COVID-19. Without food, medicines don’t work. Food and nutrition are the vaccines against hunger. Let’s vaccinate the world against hunger,” said Akinwumi Adesina, 2017 World Food Prize Laureate and President of the African Development Bank.

The full text of the letter can be found at

“As the former President & CEO of Heifer International, I witnessed firsthand the transformation of the lives of men, women, boys and girls from abject poverty to well-deserved dignity,” said Jo Luck, 2010 World Food Prize Laureate. “With a modest investment of appropriate resources and training, women can achieve sustainable community development through participatory decision-making.”

“American leadership will be a beacon that helps to light the way and a catalyst for action that gets us to a world in 2030 where we live within our planetary boundaries, everyone is well-nourished, and no one goes to bed hungry,” said Haddad.

World Food Prize Laureate Signatories:

1. Rattan Lal, Director, OSU Carbon Management & Sequestration Center, 2020 Laureate
2. Simon Groot, Founder, East-West Seed, 2019 Laureate
3. Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, 2018 Laureate
4. David Nabarro, Strategic Director, 4SD, 2018 Laureate
5. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank, 2017 Laureate
6. Maria Andrade, Principal Scientist, Sweetpotato Breeder, International Potato Center (CIP), 2016 Laureate
7. Howarth Bouis, Founding Director, HarvestPlus, 2016 Laureate
8. Jan Low, Principal Scientist, International Potato Center (CIP), 2016 Laureate
9. Robert Mwanga, Sweetpotato Breeder, International Potato Center (CIP), 2016 Laureate
10. Mary-Dell Chilton, Distinguished Science Fellow, Syngenta, 2013 Laureate
11. Robert T. Fraley, Former Executive Vice President & CTO, Monsanto, 2013 Laureate
12. David Beckmann, President Emeritus, Bread for the World, 2010 Laureate
13. Jo Luck, Former President, Heifer International, 2010 Laureate
14. Gebisa Ejeta, Director, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, 2009 Laureate
15. Robert J. Dole, Former US Senator, 2008 Laureate
16. Philip Nelson, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University, 2007 Laureate
17. Edson Lobato, Former Technical Director, Embrapa Cerrados, 2006 Laureate
18. Alysson Paolinelli, President, Instituto Fórum do Futuro, 2006 Laureate
19. Modadugu V. Gupta, Senior Research Fellow, WorldFish, 2005 Laureate
20. Pedro Sanchez, Professor, Tropical Soils, University of Florida, 2002 Laureate
21. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, 2001 Laureate
22. Gurdev Khush, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis, 1996 Laureate
23. Hans R. Herren, President, Millennium Institute & Biovision Foundation, 1995 Laureate
24. Muhammad Yunus, Chairman, Yunus Centre, 1994 Laureate

About the World Food Prize Foundation

The World Food Prize Foundation elevates innovations and inspires action to sustainably increase the quality, quantity and availability of food for all. The Foundation supports this through a variety of innovative programs year-round including by: recognizing and rewarding individuals making exceptional achievements in addressing food security; convening global leaders in Des Moines each year to address the latest issues and innovations in food and agriculture; inspiring, recognizing and empowering students around the world by providing educational and professional experiences on pressing food security and agriculture.