Six Michigan youth selected as delegates to attend 2019 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute

Michigan youth will join leaders from around the world to discuss solutions to global food security and other grand global challenges this October.

World Food Prize Global Youth Institute logo

Michigan will be represented at the 2019 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute by six outstanding youth from Eaton, Genesee, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Oakland and St. Joseph counties. The delegates were chosen from among the 28 youth who participated in the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute, which was held May 9, 2019, on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. At the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, Michigan’s delegates will join hundreds of other youth and some of the world’s leading experts on food security to learn about our planet’s most critical challenges and to discuss diverse solutions to these grand global issues.

At the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute, students in grades 8-12 from across Michigan presented an overview of the research paper they had written about an international country of their choice and a global challenge affecting food security or food access in their chosen country. In their research papers, youth examined the food security status of a typical family living in the country they selected, explained how the global challenge they selected impacted food security in their chosen country, and recommended a variety of potential solutions to the challenges faced by people in their country of study.

Students selected one global challenge to focus on in their research papers from a list of 20 potential topics identified by the World Food Prize. The potential global challenges to choose from included topics such as water scarcity, renewable energy, climate volatility, sustainable agriculture, malnutrition, human rights, education and foreign aid. A complete list of topics, and more information about the program, can be found on the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute website.

The World Food Prize Global Youth Institute will be held Oct. 16-19, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of the annual World Food Prize Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium and Laureate Award Ceremony.

The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the accomplishments of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world, according to the World Food Prize. Youth participating in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute will watch the awards ceremony and hear speeches from Simon N. Groot, the recipient of the 2019 World Food Prize.

Michigan’s delegates will also participate in the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, known as the “Borlaug Dialogue.” The Bourlaug Dialouge is held each October in conjunction with the presentation of the World Food Prize. According the World Food Prize, it is a three-day symposium that brings together international experts, policy leaders, business executives and farmers to address cutting-edge issues in global food security and nutrition.

Michigan’s youth delegates will also present their research and proposed solutions to global challenges related to food security during roundtable discussions with peers and experts while attending the Global Youth Institute. Michigan’s 2019 delegation to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute will include the following:

  • John “Jack” Collins (St. Joseph County), a junior homeschooled student from Sturgis, Michigan, will present his research on the topic of malnutrition in Ethiopia.
  • Caleb Dyer (Eaton County), a junior at Springport High School in Springport, Michigan, will present his research on the topic of immigration in Greece.
  • Hung Huynh (Kalamazoo County), a senior at Portage Northern High School and the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center, will present his research on the topic of water scarcity in India.
  • Becca McCourtie (Oakland County), a 2019 graduate of Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest in Wixom, Michigan, will present her research on the topic of water and sanitation in Puerto Rico as a participant in the Collegiate Delegate group at the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute.
  • Deirdre Northrup-Riesterer (Marquette County), a sophomore at Marquette Senior High School in Marquette, Michigan, will present her research on the topic of sustainable agriculture in Costa Rica.
  • Amina Thompson (Oakland County), a freshman at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, will present her research on the topic of malnutrition in Haiti.

The World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute is an annual Michigan State University pre-college program that is coordinated by Michigan 4-H with support from the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU International Studies and Programs, MSU Extension and Michigan FFA. Michigan State University and the World Food Prize provide funding to cover all expenses, including transportation, lodging and meals for Michigan’s youth delegates who participate in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute.


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