High school students from 27 states and territories and 10 countries were selected to attend the three-day conference to discuss the world's most pressing challenges in hunger and poverty with global leaders in science, policy and industry.

Helena Kirk from Middletown High School was among the 210 students selected to attend the 25th annual World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Oct. 17-20 in Des Moines, Iowa.

High school students from 27 states and territories and 10 countries were chosen for the prestigious three-day conference to discuss the world’s most pressing challenges in hunger and poverty with global leaders in science, policy and industry.

To participate in the program, students research and write a paper on a topic affecting food security within a specified country and provide recommendations on how to better the lives of a typical family in the country. Once accepted, students are invited to attend the conference and engage in hands-on sessions and service-learning projects that allow them to reflect on their unique role in addressing challenges related to agriculture, policy, science, industry and hunger relief efforts both in the U.S. and abroad.

The Global Youth Institute is held in conjunction with the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, which annually gathers the world's foremost leaders in global food security. Students present and discuss their innovative ideas to combat hunger with World Food Prize Laureates, international experts and peers from over 60 countries. Students also attend symposium sessions centered on current research, trends, and innovations in combating hunger and poverty.

The World Food Prize was created in 1986 by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Norman Borlaug. It is the foremost international award recognizing individuals whose achievements have advanced human development by increasing the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The prize was endowed by the Ruan family of Des Moines, Iowa.

Featured speakers at the Global Youth Institute included 2018 World Food Prize Laureates Dr. Lawrence Haddad and Dr. David Nabarro, The Honorable Mercedez Araoz, vice president of Peru; His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria and Dr. Louise Fresco, president of the executive board, Wageningen University & Research Center.

At the youth conference, Kirk interacted with young leaders from 10 other countries including Brazil, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Honduras, Kosovo, Mexico, the Netherlands and the Philippines.