Chelsea Duvall, Ryan Sullivan at Iowa’s Global Youth Institute

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Chelsea Duvall and Ryan Sullivan of Switzerland County High School were among the top students in the country selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, which was held from October 13th-15th, in Des Moines, Iowa.

The two students, members of the Switzerland County FFA chapter, earned the right to participate in the institute by competing with other Indiana student hopefuls.

To apply to represent Indiana at the institute, Ryan Sullivan studied foot and mouth disease in South Korea; and Chelsea Duvall studied water scarcity in Haiti.

They each wrote five-page papers on their topics, including a solution to the problem, and also presented their findings and solutions at Purdue University, along with other Indiana student hopefuls.

There were just five students from the State of Indiana chosen – with two coming from Switzerland County.

The institute was a part the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, which drew 1,400 people from 75 countries to discuss the world’s hunger and food security issues. The World Food Prize celebrated its 25th 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 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 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, Chelsea Duvall and Ryan Sullivan and more than 130 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 sessions featuring:

– 2011 World Food Prize Laureates John Agyekum Kufuor, the former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil.

– Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, which is currently leading hunger-fighting efforts in the Horn of Africa.

– Former African presidents, including: Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique; Sir Dawda Jawara of Gambia; and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria; speaking in an African leadership roundtable.

– The CEOs of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies: ADM, Deere & Co., DuPont, Monsanto, Novozymes and Syngenta.

– Several international agricultural ministers, speaking in a policy and government panel with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General Elect of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

– Howard G. Buffett, President of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which unveiled its first major advocacy report on hunger in Africa.

– Researchers and non-profit leaders from around the globe.

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Chelsea Duvall and Ryan Sullivan each presented papers on the theme “The Millennium Goals: Agriculture to Trade” 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 Syngenta Seeds, Inc. in Slater, Iowa, and took part in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to experience the realities of global hunger and poverty.

Created by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug and Iowa businessman John Ruan, The Global Youth Institute today receives major support from Clay Mathile and the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition. The program was developed to challenge and inspire participating student-teacher teams to identify ways of alleviating hunger, and to expose the students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines.