CFHS senior attends World Food Prize

Sara Gabriele/Staff Writer

Senior Vincent Stigliani joined 115 high school students from around the country and world at the World Food Prize Youth Symposium in Des Moines on Oct. 15-17.

Each year, schools select one student to participate in the three-day event, and this year students from 16 different states and several different countries were represented.

There, they got a chance to hear from speakers such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs and World Food Prize Laureate Gebisa Ejeta discuss pressing food scarcity and agricultural issues with international experts.

Before the symposium, all the students had to write a research paper relating to hunger on a global level and possible solutions.
“From writing the paper itself, the students certainly gain a global perspective,” science teacher Debbie Paulson said.

The paper had to be a 2,200 to 3,500 word essay on any issue relating to hunger and food insecurity, with a proposed solution to the issue. Stilgliani’s paper focused on community building and the ecosystems in Bangledesh, using sustainable management of the local resources to improve both rural incomes and agricultural yields.

Students are then accompanied by a teacher to the three-day symposium in Des Moines where they hear from key-note speakers, share their papers and participate in discussion regarding pressing food scarcity and agricultural issues.

“It was very fascinating to meet kids my age from around the world and to hear global perspectives on the issues. There were delegates from Nigeria and Tanzania who had experienced widespread hunger, and they offered powerful testimonies,” Stigliani said. “It was also incredible to eat alongside the world’s leading experts on food and agriculture.”

The symposium was created by Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug, an Iowa native, as an extension of the World Food Prize, which rewards excellence and innovation in the field of agriculture, as a way to inspire youth and draw attention to issues of hunger and agricultural issues.
“I think it’s important because most fields have an award that recognizes excellence, and this offers that for agriculture and hunger. It is an area that deserves a lot of attention, and this brings issues to the forefront,” Stigliani said. “We, in a develped country such as America, often don’t realize the extent to which it [hunger] exists in other regions of world.”

Adamant that youth are the future, Borlaug also created a summer internship as an extension of the symposium. The students that participate in the event can apply for one of the fifteen all expense paid eight week to one of a range of countries where they are positioned at a research setting and aid in research with food and agricultural issues.

Cedar Falls has had two students that have won the internships and that went to Bejing China.

“It seems like a wonderful opportunity to travel the globe and experience the issues I wrote about first-hand. I plan on applying,” Stigliani said.

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