Consol student participates in prestigious World Food Prize Global Youth Institute

Photo caption: Travis Rooney (standing fourth from the right) is pictured with his discussion group and dignitaries at the prestigious World Food Prize Global Youth Institute.

Consol student participates in prestigious World Food Prize Global Youth Institute

The best and brightest students from 27 states and territories and five countries attended speeches by world renowned leaders, presented their own research, and joined in hunger relief efforts.

Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 31, 2012 -- Travis Rooney of A&M Consolidated High School was among the top students in the country selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Oct. 18-20, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa, during the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, which drew 1,300 people from 65 countries to discuss the world’s hunger and food security issues. The World Food Prize celebrated its 26th anniversary this year, and was founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug in order to recognize and inspire great achievements in improving the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.

In order to be considered for participation, students from across the United States and abroad researched global food security issues in the country of their choice, and then submitted papers on those critical topics, which they also presented to renowned experts and scientists.

At the three-day World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, Rooney and 150 other high school students had the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of internationally renowned World Food Prize Laureates and leaders in food, agriculture and international development.

Global Youth Institute attendees participated in symposium sessions featuring:
  • 2012 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Daniel Hillel of Israel
  • Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations
  • Princess Haya bint Al Hussein of Jordan
  • Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
  • The CEOs of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies: ADM, Deere & Co., DuPont, Monsanto, Novus International and Syngenta
  • Researchers and non-profit leaders from around the globe

Rooney presented a paper on the theme “Cultivating Innovations to Feed the World” and participated in roundtable discussions with experts in industry, science, academia and policy. Research for the paper focused on examining major issues in global agriculture, development and food security in other countries. Participants also helped with a hands-on service project packaging meals for Outreach International, a hunger-fighting organization that serves people in Iowa and abroad, toured the Des Moines Water Works in Des Moines, Iowa, and took part in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to experience the realities of global hunger and poverty.

Created by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug and Iowa businessman John Ruan in 1994, The Global Youth Institute today receives major support from Clay Mathile and the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition. The program was developed to challenge and inspire participating student-teacher teams to identify ways of alleviating hunger, and to expose the students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines.

At the Global Youth Institute, Rooney interacted with students and teachers from Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Participants also viewed the 2012 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony that honored Dr. Daniel Hillel of Israel. He was recognized for his involvement in devising a range of adaptable, sustainable water management techniques.  His research and dedication to the implementation of micro-irrigation concepts has helped enhance agricultural productivity in arid regions and has impacted the lives of millions. Coverage of the 2012 Laureate Award Ceremony is available at

The World Food Prize Global Youth Institute was held in conjunction with the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, one of the world’s foremost conferences on international agriculture and food policy.

High school educators and students interested in participating should visit and select their state on the map for information on the 2013 Global Youth Institute.

ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE:  The World Food Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, The World Food Prize has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Israel, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. In 1990, Des Moines businessman and philanthropist John Ruan assumed sponsorship of The Prize and established The World Food Prize Foundation, located in Des Moines, Iowa.

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