The World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute

The World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute (WFP MIYI) is an exemplary model of how Michigan State University engages and empowers Michigan youth as global citizens addressing critical global challenges. It creates opportunities for dialogue between the faculty of MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and pre-college Michigan youth in order to advance understanding of food and its impact on people and our planet.

Since the program began in 2015, CANR faculty and staff have served as vital and valuable partners during the WFP MIYI. At the day-long event, CANR faculty members participate in roundtable discussions, where they listen to middle and high school students giving presentations based on their research papers about a critical global challenge related to food and hunger in a country other than the United States. They also participate in dialogue with students that helps to illustrate the interconnected and interdisciplinary nature of global food challenges.

CANR faculty members Addie Thompson, Scott Swinton, Aaron McKim, Ruth Mbabazi, Karim Maredia, James Kelly, David Douches, Lisa Tiemann and Cholani Weebadde participated in the WFP MIYI program on May 7, 2020, which was held as an online virtual conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the event took place on MSU’s campus in East Lansing in prior years, CANR faculty also led students on interactive fieldtrip experiences to see firsthand how Spartans engage in research and applied sciences in areas related to food, nutrition and health. These hands-on learning opportunities allow youth participants to see first-hand how MSU is addressing global food security and to learn about academic and career pathways that will allow students to continue their studies and prepare for career fields related to addressing critical global food challenges.

The most outstanding students participating in the WFP MIYI are selected to represent Michigan at the annual World Food Prize Global Youth Institute (WFP GYI), held in Des Moines, Iowa in October as part of the World Food Prize International Symposium, Awards Program and Borlaug Dialogue. Students chosen participate in the International Symposium and Borlaug Dialogues and present their research and recommendations to World Food Prize and Nobel Prize laureates and some of the other most accomplished individuals doing work to address global food security and poverty. Michigan students participating in the 2019 WFP GYI, held October 16-19, met with MSU CANR faculty and leaders who were also participating in the Borlaug Dialogue for a conversation about MSU’s engagement in international efforts related to food security.

For information, please contact Brian Wibby at