Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the keynote address at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State on June 12, where Daniel Hillel, a scientist born in the United States and raised in Israel, was named winner of the 2012 World Food Prize.
Hillel’s work to bring water to crops in dry-land regions revolutionized food production, first in the Middle East and then around the world over the past five decades. Hillel developed what is called “micro-irrigation,” which reduces the amount of water needed to irrigate crops while improving agricultural yields.
Secretary Clinton said, “Today, farmers using micro-irrigation produce high-yield, nutritious crops on more than 6 million hectares worldwide.” Hillel’s work is in step with her goals, she said, noting that the department’s Feed the Future initiative focuses on “spurring innovation and finding ways to do more with less and deliver results to people in need.”
World Food Prize Foundation President and former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Kenneth M. Quinn, in announcing the winner, emphasized not only Hillel’s scientific achievement but also his dedication to working across borders to increase food. “Confronting hunger can bring diverse people together across even the broadest political, ethnic, religious or diplomatic differences," he said.
Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Kerri-Ann Jones hosted the ceremony, which also included Jonathan Shrier, the State Department’s acting special representative for global food security.
This is the 26th anniversary of the World Food Prize, which includes an award of $250,000. More than 4,000 organizations worldwide are invited to nominate candidates. Hillel’s nomination contained support from Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
The award will be formally presented to Hillel, a citizen of the U.S. and Israel who splits his time between the two countries, at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, on October 18, 2012.
A biography of Hillel is at www.worldfoodprize.org/laureate. Video clips from the ceremony, at www.stateondemand.state.gov. Hillel can be reached in Israel by dialing country code 972, then 4639-6738 or 4639-0845 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media inquiries may be directed to Elizabeth Kelleher, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, (202) 647-0677; Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications, World Food Prize, (515) 245.3794; or Office of Press Relations, U.S. Department of State (202) 647-2492.