The man who launched the 1970s Green Revolution that is often credited with saving more than a billion lives will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in ceremonies at the Capitol today.
President Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were to present the award to Norman Borlaug, professor emeritus at Texas A&M University who continues to lecture at the university and still travels widely to developing countries to encourage the application of agricultural advances.
Borlaug has been called the “Father of the Green Revolution” for his contributions to improving the characteristics of crop plants — specifically corn and wheat — allowing Mexico, Pakistan, and India to expand their food production and avoid widespread famines.
Now 93, Borlaug has also received the Nobel Peace Prize (1970) for his agricultural achievements. He is one of only five individuals who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and now the Congressional Gold Medal (Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela are the others.)
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States Congress.
He teaches part of the year at Texas A & M University and is a special consultant to (and former director of) the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. He also works for the Sasakawa Global 2000 program in Africa.
Besides being a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Borlaug is also a founding director of the American Council on Science and Health, an organization that works to provide scientifically valid information to the media and consumers.
“Norman Borlaug is one of the great Americans of the past century,” said ACSH president Elizabeth Whelan, one of many attending the award ceremony. “It is entirely appropriate that this honor be given to a man who, through his tireless work, has given so much both to Americans and to people around the world. I cannot imagine anyone more deserving.”