DES MOINES, IOWA, US — Former US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad has joined the World Food Prize Foundation as president. He succeeds Barbara Stinson, who served three years as president of the organization before her departure in January.
Established by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the World Food Prize is considered the preeminent award for global agriculture and celebrates breakthrough achievements in combating hunger and enhancing food security around the world.
“We are excited to bring on a leader with both global vision and strong roots in agriculture,” said Paul Schickler, chair of the World Food Prize Foundation. “Ambassador Branstad, who was serving as Governor of Iowa when John Ruan Sr. rescued the World Food Prize and moved it to Iowa, has been a champion of our mission from its earliest days. He was an especially strong supporter of the World Food Prize Foundation’s Iowa Youth Institute, which encourages high school students across the state to pursue STEM subjects. We greatly look forward to him coming on board.”
Branstad was an instrumental member of a bipartisan collaboration of Iowa governors, along with Governors Robert Ray, Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, that resulted in the creation of the Iowa Hunger Summit, which gathers leaders and hunger fighters to confront food insecurity issues across the state. He also was Iowa’s longest-serving governor and holds the record as the longest-serving governor in the history of the United States. He held the office of Governor of Iowa from 1983 until 1999, and then again from 2011 until 2017, when he was appointed US Ambassador to China. He is a partner with the Branstad Churchill Group, LLC.
“I am honored to lead an organization bringing together the world’s greatest agricultural scientists and fostering the next generation of innovators,” Branstad said. “The World Food Prize is known globally for celebrating groundbreaking advances in biosciences, and I am proud to continue to build upon that Borlaug-Ruan legacy.”
As part of the leadership transition, the World Food Prize Foundation also has promoted Mashal Husain to chief operating officer. Husain most recently was senior vice president and has served as a senior leader for the Foundation for almost 15 years. She oversees multiple operating, financial and fundraising roles.
Meanwhile, former World Food Prize Foundation President Ambassador Kenneth Quinn will rejoin the organization as a special consultant during the initial transition period. Quinn, who retired in 2020 after leading the Foundation for two decades, and Husain were instrumental in building the World Food Prize as it came to be known as “the Nobel Prize for food and agriculture.”
The World Food Prize is presented each year in Iowa to an individual for their achievements in improving the quality, quantity, and availability of food in the world. The $250,000 award is presented each October in a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol that attracts global leaders and participants. In conjunction with the laureate award presentation, the Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue and related events draw global leaders and key stakeholders for discussions on groundbreaking advances in food and agricultural innovations.