Washington, DC – Early August saw the Indian Green Revolution of the last century coming alive at the official ambassadorial residence in Washington, DC, as dignitaries celebrated and paid homage to the work and vision of the Nobel Laureate who brought food and hope for millions across the globe, including India.
The 50th anniversary of Norman Ernest Borlaug’s first visit to India in March 1963 was recognized on August 7, as Nirupama Rao, the Ambassador of India to the US, detailed the contributions of Borlaug to global food security and to India’s transformation from dependence to self-sustenance in cereal production.
Offering insights into the driving motivations of the man who is credited with saving a billion lives, Ambassador Rao described Borlaug as a person who had firsthand experience of hunger and human misery, and who understood the risks and perils of subsistence farming. Borlaug regarded kindness as the noblest weapon, said Rao, and he believed in pursuing dreams against all odds, yet maintained humility and anonymity, despite being a recipient of the highest medals of honor.
Rajiv Shah, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, recounted his personal association with Borlaug and remembered him as a man who combined great missionary zeal with utmost humility. On the path followed by USAID, Shah referred to the landmark “Feed the Future” food security initiative and the work being done in conjunction with agencies in India to offer trilateral agricultural cooperation opportunities in countries in Africa.
Ambassador Rao also read a message received from Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on the occasion, in which the minister announced that the Borlaug Global Research Initiative and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research will organize a technical workshop to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Borlaug’s visit to India.
Ambassador Rao informed the audience that the Government of India has set up the Borlaug Institute for South Asia, with centers in Punjab, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
Jeanie Borlaug Laube, Borlaug’s daughter, and Julie Borlaug, his granddaughter, were present at the occasion. Among other attendees were Suzanne Heinen, Career Minister of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the 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, business chambers, industry and media.