In recognition of the sustained joint efforts of the late Ryoichi Sasakawa and Dr. Norman E. Borlaug to bring the Green Revolution to Africa, the World Food Prize Foundation will present its Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion to Yohei Sasakawa and the Nippon Foundation on April 7 in Tokyo.
Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, will present the medallion as part of the Global Food Security Symposium being held at the Okura Hotel. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and 2009 World Food Prize Laureate Gebisa Ejeta are among the speakers who will join Ambassador Quinn at the conference.
Ryoichi Sasakawa, chairman of The Nippon Foundation, was one of the first international leaders to address the hunger crisis that gripped Africa in the early 1980s. In addition to providing food and medical supplies, Ryoichi Sasakawa took on the broader goal of transforming agriculture throughout Africa. Then in his 80s, he reached out to famed agronomist Norman Borlaug and was able to convince a then 70-year-old Borlaug to turn his attention to bringing the benefits of Borlaug’s Green Revolution to the African continent. The two were joined by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in establishing the Sasakawa Africa Association in 1986, funded by Ryoichi Sasakawa and the Nippon Foundation.
With Ryoichi Sasakawa’s support, Borlaug focused the last decades of his life on Africa, working directly with farmers to share wisdom and improve farming techniques. Although Ryoichi Sasakawa’s died in 1995, The Nippon Foundation, under the leadership of Ryoichi’s son Yohei Sasakawa, has continued to support the Sasakawa Africa Association. Today, the Nippon Foundation is Japan’s largest charitable foundation.
“Thanks to the support of the Sasakawa family, and the unique friendship between Norman Borlaug and Ryoichi Sasakawa, millions of people throughout Africa are reaping the benefits of the Green Revolution,” said Ambassador Quinn. “It is truly a fitting tribute that the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion be presented to Yohei Sasakawa and the Nippon Foundation in honor of Ryoichi Sasakawa.”
The Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion was created in 2006 with the intention of recognizing world leaders whose actions have benefited mankind but who would not normally be considered for the World Food Prize. The only previous presentation of the award was made to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 2007.
Borlaug founded the World Food Prize in 1986. Former President Carter is a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors. More information on The World Food Prize is available at http://www.worldfoodprize.org.