It's the Global Youth Institute, an extension of the Northern Great Plains Youth Institute at UMN Crookston, and both are World Food Prize events.

Each year, 200 exceptional high school students from around the world are selected to participate in the three-day Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation. Among the contingent in Des Moines Wednesday through Saturday this week are Crookston High School students Isaiah Barlow, a senior, and junior Anke Wiersma.

Selected students and their teachers/mentors travel to Des Moines, Iowa, USA, in mid-October to attend this exciting three-day event at which they interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and discuss pressing food security and agricultural issues with international experts.

At the Global Youth Institute, student delegates present and discuss their findings with international experts and their peers, connect with other students from around the world, tour cutting-edge industrial and research facilities, and take part in symposium discussions with global leaders in science, industry, and policy.

Teachers/mentors register their students to participate in a qualifying Youth Institute or apply for an at-large delegate seat at the Global Youth Institute (if the student resides in a  U.S. state or country where no Youth Institute exists). The students then research and write a short research report on a critical food security issue under the direction of their teacher/mentor.

At the Global Youth Institute, student delegates present papers they have researched and written on a critical aspect of food security, and discuss their findings with international experts and their peers in roundtable discussions. Each discussion group of seven to nine students is led by three distinguished global leaders in science, industry, and policy. Student papers are subsequently published in the Global Youth Institute Proceedings and are available online.

Delegates have a unique opportunity to connect with other student leaders from around the world to discuss global challenges, share ideas, identify solutions to these problems, and build lasting friendships.

Each year, student delegates at the Global Youth Institute participate in tours of cutting-edge industrial and research facilities addressing issues related to food and water security, nutrition, global agriculture, and health. In recent years, students have toured ACH Food Companies, Inc./Tones's, Hawkeye Breeders Service, Early Morning Harvest Farm, Syngenta Seeds, DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, Blank Children’s Hospital, Lincolnway Energy Cooperative, DuPont Nevada Site Cellulosic Ethanol Facility, the Des Moines Water Works and Treatment facilities, and Des Moines University’s Global Health Program.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in guided team projects designed to develop community-based issue identification and problem-solving. Since 2009, student delegates have packaged food aid for vulnerable and food-insecure populations abroad and in the U.S.

Throughout the three-day program, student and teacher delegates participate in the Borlaug Dialogue, the leading international symposium on food security and international development, which brings together over 1,000 international experts and policy leaders from 65 countries.

Delegates to the Global Youth Institute also attend the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony in the historic Iowa State Capitol, as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture” is awarded in recognition of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

By participating in the Global Youth Institute held in Iowa, students are eligible to apply for a prestigious Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, an all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience, working with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Since 1998, Borlaug-Ruan Interns have traveled to Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turkey to get a firsthand view of pressing food security and nutritional problems in poverty-stricken areas and take part in ground-breaking research.