1. Embassy of India organized a function on August 7, 2013 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Norman Ernest Borlaug’s first visit to India in March 1963. Ms Jeanie Borlaug Laube, Dr. Borlaug’s daughter, and Ms Julie Borlaug, his grand-daughter were present at the occasion. The function was also attended by Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID); Ms. Suzanne Heinen, Career Minister, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), US Department of Agriculture (USDA); Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation; and a host of other distinguished persons representing US Government Departments, think-tanks, universities and research institutions; multilateral institutions; chambers of business and industry; and, media.
2. Ms. Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to United States, read out a message received from the Hon’ble Agriculture Minister of India, Mr. Sharad Pawar, on the occasion. The Hon’ble Minister, in his message, applauded the contributions of Dr. Borlaug in leading the global crusade against hunger; and, in helping to usher in the “Green Revolution” in India, thus placing India’s food security on a firm foundation. The message also informed that the Borlaug Global Research Initiative and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research will organize a Technical Workshop in August 2013 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Borlaug’s visit to India. The Hon’ble Minister also wished the Anniversary Event, organized by the Embassy of India in Washington DC, all success.
3. Ambassador Rao in her address, besides detailing the contributions of Dr. Borlaug to global food security and to India’s transformation from dependence to self-sustenance in cereal production, also offered insights into the driving motivations of the man who is credited with “saving billion lives”. She described Dr. Borlaug as a person who had first-hand experience of hunger and human misery; who understood subsistence farming, its risks and perils; who regarded kindness as the noblest weapon; who believed in pursuing dreams against all odds; and who maintained humility and anonymity, despite being a recipient of highest medals of honor. Ambassador Rao also informed that Government of India has set up Borlaug Institute for South Asia with centers in Punjab, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
4. Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, in his address, outlined the manner in which his organization is carrying forward the work done by Dr. Borlaug in eradicating mass hunger and ensuring food security for people around the world. He referred to the landmark “Feed the Future” food security initiative and the work being done by USAID in conjunction with agencies in India to offer trilateral agricultural cooperation opportunities in countries in Africa. Dr. Shah recounted his personal association with Dr. Borlaug and remembered him as a man who combined great missionary zeal with utmost humility.
5. Ms. Suzanne Heinen, Career Minister, US FAS detailed the initiatives undertaken by USDA under the Borlaug Fellowship Program. The program promotes food security and economic growth by providing research and training opportunities for scientists and policy makers in developing and middle income countries. Since the inception of the program in 2004, a record number of 700 fellows from 64 countries have participated in research and training in a wide array of agriculture related topics. She also expressed hope that initiatives under the Program could be dove-tailed with those under the ongoing US-India Agricultural Dialogue.
6. Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn of the World Food Prize Foundation informed that the Foundation, through its recognition of individual achievement in improving quality and quantity and availability of food in the world, is helping to perpetuate the memory of Dr. Borlaug and carry forward his legacies in countries around the globe. He also informed that Dr Borlaug’s statue shall be put up in the Capitol, in March, 2014, to mark his 100th birth anniversary.
7. During the function, a message recorded by Dr. M. S. Swaminathan for the occasion was also read out. Dr. Swaminathan recalled fondly his personal association with Dr. Borlaug. Dr. Swaminathan stated that Dr. Borlaug, apart from being a great scientist, was also a great humanist with compassion for the hungry and poor around the world. He detailed the partnership of Dr. Borlaug with Indian research and educational institutions and recounted the manner in which Dr. Borlaug’s work in Mexico was successfully replicated in India, thus ushering in a productivity revolution in cultivation of wheat.
8. The gathering was also addressed by Ms. Jeanie Borlaug Laube, daughter of Dr. Borlaug and Ms. Julie Borlaug, grand-daughter of Dr. Borlaug and Associate Director for External Relations at the Borlaug Institute for International Affairs. Ms. Jeanie Borlaug outlined the dedication of her father to scientific and technological progress, and his belief in creating strong linkages among public and private sectors, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), in eradicating hunger and poverty. She underlined the importance of carrying forward Dr. Borlaug’s efforts in order to address the continuing challenges of global food security. Her daughter, Ms. Julie Borlaug detailed the specific efforts being undertaken by Texas A&M to coordinate the work of various agencies with a view to deepening the progress made in enhancing agricultural productivity, especially in lesser developed countries around the world.
9. At the end of the function, a video on Dr. Borlaug’s work in India, developed by Cornell University, was played before the audience.