Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition to Louise O. Fresco

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Award ceremony at ZEF, University of Bonn - Louise O. Fresco received the Justus
Award ceremony at ZEF, University of Bonn - Louise O. Fresco received the Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition from the Foundation fiat Panis, presented by Dr. Andrea Fadani, Executive Member of the Board (right). Barbara Frommann / Uni Bonn .

Award presented to agricultural and nutrition expert at ZEF, University of Bonn

For outstanding achievements in the fight against hunger and rural poverty, the Foundation fiat panis has awarded the Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition for the seventh time. This year it goes to the Dutch agricultural and nutrition expert Louise O. Fresco. The award ceremony took place at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. Fresco gave a lecture on "Where Are We in Understanding World Hunger" as part of the Distinguished Lectures Series of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Sustainable Futures" at the University of Bonn.

The independent board of trustees voted unanimously to award the prize to Louise O. Fresco for her outstanding achievements in creating sustainable agricultural development and her contribution to improving world nutrition. Her life’s work to date has been in the service of a world free of hunger, the jury said.

Louise Fresco has received numerous awards for her commitment and contributions to food and agriculture, including several honorary doctorates. In 2015, she published the book "Hamburgers in Paradise - The stories behind the food we eat." In this book, Fresco condenses the extraordinary cultural intersection of art, poetry, and religion with science and technology, confronting us with how our food is produced and consumed.

In her talk during the Distinguished Lecture Series of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Sustainable Futures" at the University of Bonn, Fresco emphasized that despite decades of global efforts and research, hunger continues to exist in the world. She said that both the phenomenon of hunger and the fight against it have become more complicated. But hunger, according to Fresco, can only disappear if there is peace and poverty is overcome, because these go hand in hand. She appealed to young scientists to remain critical and to look for integrated and interdisciplinary solutions. She asked the funders of research to try to better understand what research often entails: working step by step on research questions, not always having a quick solution and answers for everything, and thinking and acting in the long term.

About the person:

Louise O. Fresco was born in Meppel, the Netherlands, in 1952. Until the middle of this year, the agricultural and nutrition expert was President of Wageningen University & Research. In this capacity, she headed one of the world’s leading research and development centers for agriculture, nutrition and the environment for eight years.

Before joining the Wageningen faculty, she was a professor at the University of Amsterdam from 2006 to 2014, focusing on the foundations of sustainable development in an international perspective. From 1990 to 1997, she held a professorship in crop production systems specializing in the tropics at Wageningen University, as well as several visiting professorships abroad. For more than nine years, she worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. From 2000 to 2006, she was Deputy Director-General of FAO’s Agriculture Division, responsible for technological issues in agricultural production and later in food supply.

About the award:

The Justus von Liebig-Award, endowed by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation F.V.S. in Hamburg, was awarded regularly between 1949 and 2006 for achievements in European agriculture. Since 2009 the Foundation fiat panis continued the award with the modified objective of awarding exceptional contributions to the improvement of world nutrition.

About the foundation:

In 2000, Dr. Hermann Eiselen (1926 to 2009) established the Foundation fiat panis as a non-profit foundation under civil law, which took over the tasks of research promotion from the Eiselen Foundation in January 2010. Eiselen designated the Foundation fiat panis as his sole heir in order to strengthen and continue the previous work in research promotion.