Barbara Stinson

The co-founder of a non-profit who has been focused on international food safety and food security issues for the past decade will be the new leader of the Iowa-based World Food Prize Foundation. Iowa native and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug founded the World Food Prize 33 years ago. The organization’s first president is retiring and Barbara Stinson will take over as World Food Prize president on January 4, 2020.

“I am devoted and passionately committed to extending Norman Borlaug’s mission…and hopefully continue to make advancements in ending world hunger,” Stinson told Radio Iowa.

Stinson has been a senior partner at the Meridian Institute since she helped launch the non-profit in 1997.

“The organization specializes in developing collaborations and collaborative solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems,” she said, “…bringing unusual partners together to try to tackle tough issues.”

Stinson has spent considerable time working in Africa to address the problems associated with aflatoxins — a fungus that contaminates corn, nuts and cotton.

“In the US, we have the benefit of having done a lot of research and developed technologies, tools and knowledge to control aflatoxin and while it’s here, it’s a problem — it’s controlled and managed,” Stinson said, “so the goal is to control and manage it on other continents.”

Stinson’s new job is to manage an organization that a variety of programs with a global reach, including an annual three-day event in Des Moines that attracts researchers and political leaders from around the globe.

“During my initial 100 days in the organization, I will be spending a lot of time with our key partners, listening, really trying to learn their perspectives on how the Borlaug Dialogues might evolve,” Stinson said.

Stinson has visited Borlaug’s research base in Mexico City often over the past two decades and has worked with many of Borlaug’s research partners. She says her aim is to have the World Food Prize contribute more to addressing global food security issues and ending hunger. The World Food Prize was sponsored by General Foods for the first four years it was awarded. In 1990, Des Moines businessman John Ruan began sponsoring the World Food Prize.

Kenneth Quinn, a former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia and one-time aide to Iowa Governor Robert Ray, has been the World Food Prize president for the past two decades.