DES MOINES, Iowa – The World Food Prize presented the inaugural “Inspiring the Next Generation” award to Iowa State University Associate Dean David Acker. Presented during the Laureate Award Ceremony on Thursday night at the Iowa State Capitol, this award recognizes the tireless dedication Acker has shown in encouraging students, through the World Food Prize youth programs, to follow in the footsteps of Iowa hero Norman Borlaug.
“Inspired by Dr. Borlaug, for the past 20 years, Dean David Acker has been a force of guidance, encouragement, instruction and inspiration to thousands of high school students participating in the World Food Prize youth education programs,” said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation. “I can think of no one more fitting to receive this award in its first year.”
The award was created to honor those teachers who are critical to the success of the World Food Prize youth education programs.
“Thousands of students are involved in our youth education programs thanks to the inspiration they receive from their teachers,” said Quinn during the announcement of the award.
While the World Food Prize presents several awards and honors for the achievements of student participants, the “Inspiring the Next Generation” award is the first to acknowledge the hard work done by teachers.
“It has been an honor and an inspiration to have worked with so many dedicated students, teachers and industry professionals through the World Food Prize youth programs,” said Acker.
Acker, a professor of agricultural education at Iowa State University, has been involved with World Food Prize youth programs since its inception. For the past 20 years he has provided educational leadership through the Iowa Youth Institute, the Global Youth Institute and the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship. He has been a central figure of guidance, encouragement, instruction and inspiration from his extensive experiences in the field.
“What makes the award especially meaningful is knowing that there are hundreds of students and teachers who are past participants in the World Food Prize Youth Programs who have committed themselves to STEM education and the grand challenge laid down by Norman Borlaug,” said Acker when he received the award.
Jeanie Borlaug Laube, daughter of Norman Borlaug and a former teacher, presented the award.
“My father always considered himself a teacher. I know he is deeply grateful for all that you have done to inspire the several thousand students who participate in our programs each year,” she said of Acker.
“Dr. Acker’s extraordinary passion and dedication to international education has transformed the lives of thousands of students, both here at Iowa State and abroad,” said Wendy Wintersteen, President of Iowa State University.
“His tireless work has helped to create and support world-class global programs focused on food and agricultural education,” Wintersteen said. “That includes David’s service as a linchpin for Iowa State’s close ties to the World Food Prize Foundation, including the incredibly successful Iowa Youth Institute we host on campus each year. Because of David’s central role in framing our vision and supporting the active involvement of students, faculty and staff, we have seen students enlarge their understanding of our world, and have seen the benefits for faculty as they bring back lessons learned abroad and apply them in our classrooms. In many ways, David has accomplished much to extend Iowa State’s land-grant university mission across international borders.”
The “Inspiring the Next Generation” award will be presented annually to a teacher involved in the World Food Prize youth programs who has significantly contributed to the success of the program and has provided outstanding inspiration to the students involved.
The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The 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 48 outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. The World Food Prize annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium and a variety of youth education programs to help further the discussion on cutting-edge global food security issues and inspire the next generation to end hunger.