Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Statue for the Green Revolution

A newly commissioned statue by the State of Iowa was unveiled today in the U.S. Capitol Building's National Statuary Hall to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug, known as the father of the Green Revolution [video]. An Iowa native, Dr. Borlaug [1914-2009] spent his career developing disease-resistant and high-yielding wheat varieties and other cereal grains that greatly increased food production around the world. His work is estimated by some to have saved as many as one billion people from starvation.

Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, and later received the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Medal of Science, the only American to have ever earned all four honors. In his Nobel Lecture, entitled "The Green Revolution, Peace, and Humanity," Borlaug stated:
. . . the first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world. Yet today fifty percent of the world's population goes hungry. Without food, man can live at most but a few weeks; without it, all other components of social justice are meaningless. 
In 1986, Borlaug created the World Food Prize to recognize those who have "advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world."

The Borlaug statue, shown above, was created by artist Benjamin Victor. Each state is permitted two statues in National Statuary Hall; the statue of Borlaug will replace James Harlan, and will join Samuel Jordan Kirkwood's statue, which was installed in 1913 by Vinnie Ream, the first woman and youngest artist to receive a U.S. Government commission. She is known for her statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Capitol Rotunda.

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