The Foundation fiat panis, as successor to the Father and Son Eiselen Foundation, awarded in 2022 the Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition to Prof. Dr. Louise O. Fresco for her outstanding achievements in the fight against hunger and rural poverty. The prize was endowed with 25,000 EUR and was awarded on the occasion of a public lecture at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn on November 28, 2022.
Professor Fresco was President of Wageningen University (Wageningen University & Research) until July 1, 2022. In this capacity she led for eight years one of the world's leading research and development centers for agriculture, nutrition and the environment. There, the future fields of climate change, healthy nutrition, food security, biodiversity and circular economy are linked with each other in a high-quality manner. The close collaboration between different disciplines in the fields of natural and engineering sciences and social sciences ensures that scientific breakthroughs are translated into practice and quickly translated into education. Professor Fresco was the driving force behind this dialogue program in Wageningen between science and society. Also thanks to their extensive international experience and network, Wageningen has strengthened its collaboration with partners worldwide and advanced important research work.
During her work at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, she was able to set significant impulses in research, consulting and training. She was responsible, among other things, for shaping policies for sustainable agriculture and development and for the first environmental agreements in the areas of biodiversity and climate.
In her role as a valued expert, she was appointed to key advisory bodies and has been instrumental in defining goals for sustainable agriculture: Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021; 3rd Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (CFS-HLPE); Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR); WARDA (West Africa Rice Development Association); AVRDC (Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center); and many more.
The agricultural and nutritional expert Louise O. Fresco was born in Meppel/ Netherlands in 1952. Before working in Wageningen, she was an university professor at the University of Amsterdam from 2006 to 2014 with a focus on the fundamentals of sustainable development from an international perspective. From 1990 to 1997 she held a professorship for plant production systems with a specialization in the tropics at Wageningen University and several guest professorships abroad. She worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome for more than nine years. From 1997 to 1999 she was Director of Research in the Agriculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. From January 2000 to May 2006 she was deputy general director of this organization, responsible for technological issues in the field of agricultural production and later in the field of food supply.
Louise O. Fresco began her career in the 1970s with field research visits in Papua New Guinea and Zaire/Congo. Since then she has traveled to more than sixty countries outside of Europe and North America for professional purpose. She received her PhD from Wageningen University in 1986 with honors in Plant Breeding and Production Systems in the Tropics. She is a member of six scientific academies and has published more than 160 scientific articles and policy papers. She has worked well beyond her academic field as a columnist, literary critic, and author of novels and essays, and is an acclaimed public speaker. She was a board member of Rabobank and Unilever as well as of several national and international institutions.
In 2015 she published the book “Hamburgers in Paradise - The stories behind the food we eat” at Princeton University Press. In this book, Fresco condenses the extraordinary cultural intersection of art, poetry and religion with science and technology and confronts us with the way we produce and consume our food. In doing so, she creates a thoughtful but also optimistic view of the future of sustainable agriculture.
The independent board of trustees unanimously decided to award the prize to Professor Dr. Louise O. Fresco for her outstanding achievements in creating sustainable agricultural development and her contribution to improving world nutrition. She has put her life's work to date in the service of a world free from hunger.
The next nomination phase will take place in December 2022.
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