• Northern Great Plains Youth Institute - Change the World - promotional photo

Northern Great Plains Youth Institute

Monday, May 6, 2019 - University of Minnesota Crookston

Registration Deadline: April 9, 2019

The Northern Great Plains Youth Institute, an official World Food Prize event, is a potentially life-changing experience at the University of Minnesota Crookston where high school students engage with local leaders and experts on critical global challenges, participate in hands-on activities, and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Minnesota and around the world.

Participating high school students research a global issue they care about and write a short paper under the supervision of a teacher or mentor. Then at this event, participants will:

  • Present research and recommendations on ways to solve these key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with statewide experts;
  • Connect with other student leaders to share ideas, identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships;
  • Explore the issues, current research and opportunities to make a difference at the University of Minnesota Crookston; and
  • Interact with global leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security around the world.

Papers will be evaluated by the World Food Prize Board of Reviewers. This distinguished group of educators and experts was established to mentor and personally encourage students. Reviewers write thoughtful, personalized feedback to each student who participates in the Youth Institute.

Students who participate in the Northern Great Plains Youth Institute can earn a $1,000 scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota Crookston, can gain recognition as a Borlaug Scholar, and may qualify for internships as well as other possible opportunities.

The World Food Prize was founded by Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who saved over a billion people from famine and starvation through advances in crop breeding technologies. Today, The World Food Prize celebrates individuals who significantly improve global food security. The Northern Great Plains Youth Institute was established at UMC to engage high school students with local leaders and experts on critical global food security challenges, participate in hands-on learning, explore campus, and formally present their solutions to food security, environmental or social justice issues.


How to participate

High school students in grades 9-12 in the 2018-19 school year are eligible to apply. There is no registration cost to participate in the Institute, and meals will be provided during the event. However, both student and teacher/mentor participants must organize their own transportation to and from the event on the Crookston campus. Housing ($15.00/night) and additional educational activities will be available for the evening of Sunday, May 5, as well.  We invite larger groups of students (such as entire high school classes) to attend as well.

Select a Mentor, Research an Issue, and Write a Paper
To participate in the Northern Great Plains Youth Institute, students research a global issue and write a 2-to-3 page paper under the supervision of a teacher or mentor (using these guidelines). A mentor can be a teacher at your school, a 4-H club leader, a coach, or FFA Advisor. Ask your teacher/mentor to help you as you develop your ideas and revise your paper. View a sample paper.

Register to Attend the May 6 Event at the University of Minnesota Crookston by April 9, 2019
Registration is available online.

Submit Your Paper by April 9
Paper submission is also available online.

Registration and paper submission are both due online by April 9, 2019.

For more information please contact Eleora DeMuth at
demut058@crk.umn.edu or 218-281-8569

Learn more at
World Food Prize Logo - click to get more information about Northern Great Plains Youth Insitute

Featured Keynote Speaker

Featured Keynote Speaker

Featured Keynote Speaker for 2019: TBD

Featured Keynote Speaker for 2018: Wemimo Abbey

Wemimo Abbey - 2015 Abbey Award WinnerIn addition to the participants and other guests, we look forward to bringing a distinguished young alumnus, Wemimo Abbey of the Class of 2013, back to campus as the keynote speaker. He is the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Clean Water for Everyone (CWFE), an organization that provides access to affordable water supply in developing countries. CWFE has provided access to clean water to over 25,000 people in Ghana, Nepal, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Abbey has presented the global water and sanitation crisis at the United Nations and the Clinton Global Initiative. He was a recipient of the 2014 Face2Face Africa Young African Committed to Excellence Award, New York University (NYU) Presidential Service Award, and the NYU Wagner Dean Scholarship. He is co-founder of Esusu, a platform designed to help leverage community based savings to build a permanent bridge to financial access and inclusion (www.esusu.org). Abbey currently works for PwC as a mergers and acquisitions professional in the greater New York City area.

Schedule for the Day

Schedule for the Day

Note: the schedule for Monday, May 6, 2019 is yet to be finalized.

Following is the schedule for the May 7, 2018, event

Monday, May 7

8:30 to 9 a.m. - Reviewer Orientation Pre-Seminar (location TBD)

9 to 10 a.m. - Registration, Individual Photos, and Breakfast - Sargeant Student Center's Bede Ballroom (2nd floor)

10 to 10:30 a.m. - Opening Remarks - Welcome from Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause, Institute Greetings from Libby Crimmings & Keegan Kautzky, Greetings from U.S. Congressmann Collin Peterson, MN 7th District

10:35 a.m. - breakout and transit to competition rooms

10:45 a.m. to Noon - Competition Presentations and Roundtable Discussions, rooms announced at welcome session

12:15 to 1:15 p.m. - Buffet Lunch, Bede Ballroom

12:30 p.m. - Keynote Address by Wimemo Abbey, Bede Ballroom

1 p.m. - Remarks from Michelle Christopherson, Director of Admissions, and Eleora DeMuth, Minnesota Region II FFA President, UMC Collegiate FFA Officer

1:15 to 1:45 p.m. - Reviewers Convene for In-Depth Discussion

1:30 to 2:15 p.m. - Immersion Sessions 

2:15 to 3 p.m. - Immersion Sessions 

3 to 3:30 p.m. - Closing Ceremonies, Certificate Presentation, Group Photos, and Swag Bags in Bede Ballroom

adjournment at 3:30 p.m.