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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

FFA member participates in World Food Prize Global Youth Institute

Nov 23, 2012
Photo caption: Washington FFA member Lexi Marek with World Food Prize recipient Dr. Daniel Hillel at the symposium in Des Moines. Hillel was recognized for his role in conceiving and implementing a radically new mode of bringing water to crops in arid and dry land regions — known as “micro-irrigation.”

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.

Lexi Marek of Washington High School was among the top students in the country selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute on Oct. 18-20, 2012, in Des Moines, 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 Iowa and the United States 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 Marek 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;  chief executive officers of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies: ADM, Deere & Co., DuPont, Monsanto, Novus International and Syngenta, and researchers and non-profit leaders from around the globe.

Marek presented a paper on the theme “Cultivation 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, and took part in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to experience the realities of global hunger and poverty.

At the Global Youth Institute, Marek 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 attended 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.

Lexi is the daughter of Tim and Heather Marek.


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