Doctoral Candidate Selected as World Food Prize Council of Advisors Youth Representative

Francine Barchett

March 11, 2024

By Katya Hrichak

For Francine Barchett, a doctoral candidate in natural resources and the environment, being selected as a youth representative for the World Food Prize Foundation Council of Advisors is an accomplishment years in the making.

“It’s a really big honor to be selected in large part because the World Food Prize Foundation has played a really important role in my professional pathway and personally in the ways that I view myself in the world,” she said.

As a rising senior in high school, Barchett had not yet figured out her next step. She knew that she would pursue higher education, but her future major was undetermined—until she saw a poster for the World Food Prize State Institute while visiting a state university, which put her on the track to where she is now.

She submitted an essay to the Michigan Youth Institute and was selected. After that came the Global Youth Institute, where she first learned about Cornell and its program in international agriculture and rural development. Before she started her undergraduate degree, having been accepted, Barchett completed an internship abroad with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, an opportunity made available through her participation in other World Food Prize programming.

Ever since, Barchett has given back to the organization by helping with the New York Youth Institute, the Michigan Youth Institute, and the Global Youth Institute.

“Getting the distinction of being on the council of advisors really helps me to build upon the work that I’ve already done, but in a bigger way than I would have expected or imagined,” she said.

World Food Prize Council of Advisors Youth Representatives like Barchett, of whom there have only been three since the program launched in 2021, play multipronged roles. They help select World Food Prize Laureates by providing comments on nominations, which are taken into consideration.

Youth representatives also work on the Borlaug Dialogue Series, an annual conference featuring talks on topics of food security given by executives of agricultural companies, professionals, and members of the United Nations.

Bringing Barchett’s selection full circle is the youth representatives’ final responsibility: developing programs for and improving the World Food Prize Foundation’s youth programs. As Barchett knows, these programs most often take the form of one- to two-day events where high schoolers travel to a state university and present a research paper that they have written on the topic of food security. The World Food Prize’s New York Youth Institute is hosted by Cornell, and the 2024 institute will take place on March 22.

“We’re always trying to get new students to join and people from across Cornell to be involved as experts, panelists, or judges, or see what we’re all about,” said Barchett.

The World Food Prize Foundation was founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Norman Borlaug, an agronomist and former Cornell professor, to sustainably increase the availability of food around the world.