For the sixth year in a row, the winner of the Borlaug CAST Communication Award was honored at a World Food Prize side event. This year's recipient – Dr. Channapatna Prakash – gave a keynote address entitled Everything I Know about GMOs, I Learned on Social Media.
Currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Tuskegee University, Prakash was instrumental in establishing the prestigious plant biotechnology research and training program at the school, and he has a long list of influential publications and awards. He has presented his messages about agriculture in more than 70 countries.
Recipients of this annual award are science and/or agriculture expertswho demonstrate an ability to communicate through written material, public presentations and various forms of media. Prakash is known for his ability to deliver clear, science-based information to the public and policymakers alike. Colleagues point out that he can communicate with "every kind of audience, in every medium available."
Julie Borlaug Larson of the Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture spoke about Dr. Borlaug's legacy before CAST President David Songstad introduced the award winner.
Dr. Prakash's presentation centered on the challenges scientists andthe agricultural community have when dealing with modern media. Prakash used thought-provoking images and personal anecdotes to emphasize the need for innovative science. He also encouraged the use of effective "hands on" education. "Knowledge is important," he said. "We need to rekindle curiosity and wonder in our young people."
The honor is presented annually by CAST, and this year's award wasonce again sponsored by DuPont. Attendees included scientists, journalists, farmers from around the world and dignitaries such as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and the President of the World Food Prize Ambassador Kenneth Quinn.
The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation organized a panel discussion about Answering the Challenge of Expo Milano 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. IFIC Foundation President Kimberly Reed moderated the session. Panelists included Dr. Prakash, U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary William Craft, and DuPont Director of Biotechnology Public Policy Doyle Karr. They discussed various topics centered on the need for effective communication about biotech and ag innovation.