The World Prize Foundation has released an open letter to US President Joe Biden from 24 World Food Prize Laureates—including HarvestPlus Founding Director Howdy Bouis—calling on the US administration to take a leadership role in ending world hunger and malnutrition worldwide. 

The letter, which was released February 23, 2021, comes ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021 and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in December 2021. 

Below is the text of a release about the letter issued by the World Food Prize Foundation:  

Today, the World Food Prize Foundation released a powerful statement penned by 24 of its Laureates urging the Biden-Harris Administration to focus on alleviating hunger, poverty and malnutrition around the globe. 

“U.S. leadership is foundational if we are to transform food systems to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Lawrence Haddad, 2018 World Food Prize Laureate and Executive Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. “Our food systems are moving us in the wrong directions: “Our food systems are moving us in the wrong directions: hunger levels are rising, child undernutrition levels are at severe risk of rising, obesity is increasing, we are off track to meet climate targets, biodiversity is being squandered, not enough decent jobs are being created and community resilience is being undermined. But this moment in time has created an opportunity for everyone to think and act differently: with ambition, with solidarity and with lasting impact.”

The World Food Prize Laureates last came together for a global call to action 19 years ago. As the Biden-Harris administration begins, the World Food Prize Laureates call on the President to take immediate action to directly and fully address global hunger and food insecurity.

“American leadership on getting food systems right will inspire and embolden others to join forces to end hunger, counter climate change, generate jobs, and promote responsible stewardship of the environment,” the Letter reads. 

The World Food Prize Foundation strongly supports its Laureates and echoes the need for U.S. leadership on this global issue. “Dr. Norman Borlaug envisioned a prize to elevate the innovations that would inspire current and future leaders to increase the quality, quantity and availability of food for everyone,” said Barbara Stinson, President of the World Food Prize Foundation. “At this critical juncture in the U.S. and globally, the Laureates’ call to leverage funding, alliances and leadership on behalf of transforming food systems is timely, focused on the urgency of U.S. action to achieve zero hunger by 2030.”

“For millions of poor people around the world, the risk of dying from hunger is greater than dying from COVID-19. Without food, medicines don’t work. Food and nutrition are the vaccines against hunger. Let’s vaccinate the world against hunger,” said Akinwumi Adesina, 2017 World Food Prize Laureate and President of the African Development Bank.

The full text of the letter can be found at

“As the former President & CEO of Heifer International, I witnessed firsthand the transformation of the lives of men, women, boys and girls from abject poverty to well-deserved dignity,” said Jo Luck, 2010 World Food Prize Laureate. “With a modest investment of appropriate resources and training, women can achieve sustainable community development through participatory decision-making.”

“American leadership will be a beacon that helps to light the way and a catalyst for action that gets us to a world in 2030 where we live within our planetary boundaries, everyone is well-nourished, and no one goes to bed hungry,” said Haddad.

World Food Prize Laureate Signatories: 

  1. Rattan Lal, Director, OSU Carbon Management & Sequestration Center, 2020 Laureate
  2. Simon Groot, Founder, East-West Seed, 2019 Laureate
  3. Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, 2018 Laureate
  4. David Nabarro, Strategic Director, 4SD, 2018 Laureate
  5. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank, 2017 Laureate
  6. Maria Andrade, Principal Scientist, Sweetpotato Breeder, CIP, 2016 Laureate
  7. Howarth Bouis, Founding Director, HarvestPlus, 2016 Laureate
  8. Jan Low, Principal Scientist, International Potato Center (CIP), 2016 Laureate
  9. Robert Mwanga, Sweetpotato Breeder, International Potato Center (CIP), 2016 Laureate
  10. Mary-Dell Chilton, Distinguished Science Fellow, Syngenta, 2013 Laureate
  11. Robert T. Fraley, Former Executive Vice President & CTO, Monsanto, 2013 Laureate
  12. David Beckmann, President Emeritus, Bread for the World, 2010 Laureate
  13. Jo Luck, Former President, Heifer International, 2010 Laureate
  14. Gebisa Ejeta, Director, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, 2009 Laureate
  15. Robert J. Dole, Former U.S. Senator, 2008 Laureate
  16. Philip Nelson, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University, 2007 Laureate
  17. Edson Lobato, Former Technical Director, Embrapa Cerrados, 2006 Laureate
  18. Alysson Paolinelli, President, Instituto Fórum do Futuro, 2006 Laureate
  19. Modadugu V. Gupta, Senior Research Fellow, World Fish, 2005 Laureate
  20. Pedro Sanchez, Professor, Tropical Soils, University of Florida, 2002 Laureate
  21. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, 2001 Laureate
  22. Gurdev Khush, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis, 1996 Laureate
  23. Hans R. Herren, President, Millennium Institute & Biovision Foundation, 1995 Laureate
  24. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2006, Founder, Grameen Bank, 1994 Laureate