Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation and former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, will receive the the state's highest award to a citizen 

on May 30 at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

 

Gov. Terry Branstad will present the Iowa Award to Quinn, who becomes the 23rd person to receive it.

 

"Ken personifies the characteristics and qualities that we Iowans strive to embody: integrity, philanthropy and service. Whether it be his humanitarian work on behalf of refugees from Southeast Asia while serving with Gov. Robert D. Ray, his passion to continue the legacy of feeding the world started by Iowan Dr. Norman Borlaug, or his diplomatic career, which included negotiating for American entry into Vietnamese prisons to search for prisoners of war, Ken has consistently put his state and country above self," Branstad said in a news release today.

 

Quinn's biography includes being one of the most decorated Foreign Service officers of his generation. He is a graduate of Wahlert High School and Loras College in Dubuque.

 

"Throughout my career, whether at home or abroad, I have been guided and sustained by the core values that were instilled in me growing up in Iowa, and by our state's great agricultural and humanitarian heritage," Quinn said in the release.

 

Others who have received the award include President Herbert Hoover, James Van Allen, a famed University of Iowa physicist, Henry A. Wallace, a U.S. secretary of agriculture and vice president of the United States, Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning crop geneticist, Simon Estes, international opera singer, George Washington Carver, plant scientist and humanitarian, and John Atanasoff, inventor of the first electronic digital computer.