World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

Last October I wrote a post about the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute. That same organization has a program for high school and college students called the Borlaug-Ruan Internship. This program allows roughly 25 students to study abroad at one of the worksite for 8 weeks to research solutions to food insecurity. Any American student who attended the Global Youth Institute has the opportunity to apply for this all-expense-paid internship and I was one of 70 students who applied for this program. Earlier this week I had my interview for the internship at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

The story behind this building is quite fascinating. It was once the Des Moines public library but flooding destroyed it. In 2001 a generous 5 million dollar donation began restoration efforts. Since then it has been transformed in a world renowned center and the home to the World Food Prize. This state of the art building has a Platinum LEED certification. As a part of the restoration projects, it was made extremely energy efficient. The beautiful gardens in the front lawn cover the geothermal wells and the roof of the building houses 90 solar panels. The interior utilizes double-decker windows to maximize on natural sunlight. The architectural design of the interior is very elegant with many relics of its historical significance. The wood grains on the floors mark where stacks of books once lived.

Each of the rooms are very intriguing but my absolute favorite is the 40 Chances Room. Warren Buffet’s son Howard Graham Buffet began a project called 40 Chances. At a John Deere Meeting in Illinois he was told that every farmer farms for about 40 years and thus has 40 chances in life to get it right. Howard Buffet found this statement to be highly applicable to all walks of life. With this idea in mind he set out around the world, taking pictures and capturing the stories of individuals for a final piece he named 40 Chances. These 40 pictures decorate the walls of this unique room. I am always emotionally stirred when I enter this room because it puts faces to the food insecurity issue.

I had a spectacular time revisiting this building and explaining its beauty to my mom. So if you ever find yourself in Des Moines, I would suggest a trip to 100 Locust Street.

(If you were wondering about the interview, I think it went well! I am supposed to hear back from the organization in the beginning of March so I will keep you posted 🙂 )


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