November 22, 2019 Achievements

Two Sioux City Community School District Students Earned Honor to Attend 25th Annual Global Youth Institute

World Food Prize Logo

The top high school students in the country and around the world were selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute (GYI) October 16-19, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa during the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, which drew 1,000 people from 50 countries to discuss the world’s hunger and food security issues. This year marked the 25th anniversary of this prestigious youth education program welcoming over 460 students and teachers from 26 U.S. states/territories and 10 countries. Among these students included two Sioux City Community School District representatives.

In order to be considered for participation, students identify a country of interest and research a topic affecting the global food system, then propose an evidence-based solution to improve the lives of families living within the country. Students are selected to attend the conference by presenting their solutions at a regional youth institute or through an at-large selection process.

Giselle Gonzalez, a sophomore at East High, focused her research on government corruption in Mexico, how it affects food insecurity, and possible solutions that could be implemented. The research results yielded some of these solutions for Mexico’s government corruption: peaceful protesting, educating the youth, and voting.

Tinh Tran, a junior from North High, took interest in the southeast Asian country, My parents are from Vietnam, a southeast Asian country, Timor-Leste. A newly formed country, Timor-Leste citizens face both malnutrition and poverty. To combat these problems, Tran decided to implement use of a Methane Extraction Dome (MED). The MED would house approximately 20 and collect methane produced from them. The methane collected could be burned/transferred into energy for the people of Timor-Leste to use or sell for profit, reducing poverty. The cows themselves could provide milk and meat.

These innovative and solution-oriented plans earned both Gonzalez and Tran a place at the three-day international symposium, where 216 high school students had the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of internationally renowned World Food Prize Laureates and leaders in food, agriculture and international development. The program began with a keynote address from the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate and President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and also featured the 2019 Africa Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Emma Naluyima.

Global Youth Institute attendees also participated in Borlaug Dialogue Symposium sessions featuring:

  • 2019 World Food Prize Laureate Simon N. Groot of the Netherlands
  • President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, H.E. Felix Tshisekedi
  • The CEOs of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies, including: Bayer Ag, Corteva Agriscience, Kemin

Industries, Victoria Seeds and Syngenta

  • Researchers and non-profit leaders from around the globe

Students then presented original research papers and participated in roundtable discussions with leading experts in agricultural industries, technological innovation and international policy. Participants also took part in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to better understand the realities of global hunger and poverty.

Participants also viewed the 2019 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony honoring Simon N. Groot of The Netherlands. He was recognized for his transformative role in empowering millions of smallholder farmers in more than 60 countries to earn greater incomes through enhanced vegetable production, benefitting hundreds of millions of consumers with greater access to nutritious vegetables for healthy diets. As founder and leader of East-West Seed, his initiative over the past four decades has developed a dynamic, smallholder-centric tropical vegetable seed industry, starting in Southeast Asia and spreading through Asia, Africa and Latin America. Coverage of the 2019 Laureate Award Ceremony is available at

Created by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug and Iowa businessman John Ruan in 1994, the program was developed to challenge and inspire participating student-teacher teams to identify ways of alleviating hunger, and to expose the students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines.

High school educators and students interested in participating can visit and select their state on the map for information on the 2020 Global Youth Institute for more information on the programs and how to participate.