Six undergraduate students from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) attended the annual World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa during October. This three-day event is known as “the premier conference in the world on global agriculture.”
The selected students, whose registration and travel were sponsored by the ACES Office of International Programs and the ACES Office of Academic Programs, included (left to right in photo):
- Husain Kurawadwala, senior in technical systems management
- Audrey Dombro, junior in agricultural and consumer economics
- Kelsey Pugh, senior in agricultural communications
- Katlyn Carrington, junior in agricultural and consumer economics
- Madeline Poole, junior in crop sciences
- Kimberly Villanueva, junior in agricultural communications
The students were accompanied by Suzana Palaska, associate director of the ACES Office of International Programs.
These students, already interested in seeking creative solutions to the world’s food security problem, left even more inspired by the opportunity. Snippets of their impressions are included below to collectively summarize the value of the experience:
“The World Food Prize felt like a powerful and momentous collision of private companies, public institutions, and governments all sharing the common goal of supporting agriculture and contributing to the eradication of global hunger…We were blown away by the technology the presenters displayed...This experience impressed upon me that innovations that can overwhelmingly improve yields and crop outcomes already exist, but the disconnect between the technology that is available and where it is available is an issues of rising concern.” - Audrey Dombro
“My favorite speaker was the Vice President of Peru. She was knowledgeable and approachable while also seeming approachable. The part of her speech that covered the loss of biodiversity was particularly moving. This is a topic I care deeply about...By the end of the conference, I felt a strange sense of optimism…It was terrific to see all the great minds whose agendas are the issue of food security. I am excited to one day be one of them.” – Kimberly Villanueva
“The 2018 Borlaug Dialogue was one of the most meaningful opportunities offered by the College of ACES that I’ve been able to participate in as an undergraduate…it truly left me with a newfound realization that the field of agricultural development, from multiple perspectives, is a community that is growing in solidarity and mission. To see leaders in agricultural technology, politics, and economics sit next to each other and discuss common goals- I realized that the issues surrounding food security, as widespread and complex as they are, are fundamentally attainable. The equally dynamic education I am receiving from the University of Illinois and the College of ACES is preparing me so I too can being a part of the dialogue on global food insecurity.” - Katlyn Carrington
This is the third year a delegation of ACES undergraduates has attended this event; read about last year’s attendees here.
Read more on the World Food Prize here.