Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2020 Women in Triticum Early Career and Mentor Award Celebration

Virtual keynote and panel celebrating the accomplishments of women working in wheat with keynote by Barbara Stinson, president of the World Food Prize Foundation.

In this flagship online event, the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative will celebrate this year’s Women in Triticum award winners with a keynote presentation by Barbara Stinson, President of the World Food Prize Foundation, and a panel discussion with former WIT award winners who have developed unique careers in wheat improvement around the world.

The Jeanie Borlaug-Laube Women in Triticum Early Career Award, established in 2010, provides professional development opportunities for women working in wheat during the early stages of their career.​ The award is named after Jeanie Borlaug Laube, mentor to many, and daughter of Nobel Laureate Dr​ Norman E.​ Borlaug.​

The Jeanie Borlaug-Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) Mentor award recognises professionals who have been excellent mentors to women working in wheat improvement.

The 2020 WIT Early Career Awardees are;

  • Anna Backhaus (John Innes Centre)
  • Bharati Pandey (India)
  • Yewubdar Ishetu Shewaye (Ethiopia)
  • Paula Silva (Uruguay)
  • Peipei Zhang (China)
  • The 2020 WIT Mentor is Evans Lagudah, from CSIRO, in Australia

All the awardees have submitted short videos in which they talk about their work and their passion for wheat that will be played during the celebration.

In addition to videos, the hour-long event will feature a keynote address by Barbara Stinson, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, on “The Importance of Gender in Assuring Global Food Security.”

Sarah Davidson Evanega, who initiated the WIT Award back in 2010, will talk about “The History of the BGRI WIT Award.”

An interactive WIT Panel Discussion with four former WIT winners will be moderated by Hale Tufan (2019), this years winner of the Norman Borlaug Field Research and Application Award from the World Food Prize. Panelists include;

  • Sandra Dunckel (2013), from KWS in the UK
  • Sarah (Battenfield) McNeil (2014), from Syngenta in the US
  • Mercy Wamalwa (2016), from Egerton University in Kenya
  • Sarrah Ben M’Barek-Ben Romdhane (2017), from the Regional Field Crops Research Centre of Béja, in Tunisia

They will discuss “The Future of Wheat Research: Aspirations and Visions.” Questions from the online audience can be submitted.

More details are available at

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