Washington, D.C.,26 October 2023 (TDI): Gebisa Ejeta, an Ethiopian-born scientist renowned for his work in the field of plant genetics, has been awarded the prestigious National Medal of Science by US President Joe Biden.

This honor represents the highest recognition attainable by scientists in the United States and celebrates Ejeta’s outstanding contributions to the science of plant genetics.

Ejeta’s work focuses on the study of sorghum, a vital food source in Africa. In 2009, he was awarded the esteemed World Food Prize for his pioneering research in developing a drought-resistant sorghum hybrid that also combats the parasitic weed Striga, a common threat to African farms.

Sorghum, the fifth-most important cereal crop worldwide, and the second-most important cereal in Africa, has become a staple for countries facing frequent droughts, providing food security for millions.

Ethiopian-born Scientist Gebisa Ejeta’s journey from a humble, single-roomed thatched home in central Ethiopia, where hunger and food scarcity were daily challenges, has significantly influenced his scientific research.

His childhood experiences fueled his commitment to improving food security for vulnerable populations. He emphasized the profound impact of hunger during his early years, saying,

“When I went to school away from home, invariably I was hungry. In fact, recalling grade school, I can count the number of days where I had breakfast. Going to school in the morning with an empty stomach is a challenge. So I have experienced hunger on a regular basis,” said Ejeta.

Also Read: Ethiopian Ambassador geo-economic emphasis at Peace Conference

At Purdue University in Indiana, Ejeta serves as a professor and leads global food security programs. The university’s president, Mung Chiang, celebrated his achievement, praising him as “a role model of perseverance” and “one of the most impactful geneticists in the world.”

Moreover, Ejeta, who holds American nationality, was among the nine leading U.S. scientists honored at the White House by President Biden.

In President Biden’s words, “By developing sorghum strains that withstand droughts and parasites, he has improved food security for millions. His advocacy for science, policy, and institutions as key to economic development has lifted the fortunes of farmers and strengthened the souls of nations.”

The National Medal of Science, established in 1959, recognizes individuals deserving of special recognition for their outstanding contributions in various science-related fields.

Ejeta’s remarkable achievements have also earned him the National Hero Award from the Ethiopian government and a position on the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development in 2011, appointed by then US President Barack Obama.