The world that OWA laureate Hans Rudolf Herren thrives in is as complex and integrated as Nature itself. He is a scientist and a farmer, a discoverer and a learner. He influences governments and public policy, he touches single lives in villages in East Africa. He is patient and indignant, native Swiss and transplanted African. Hans Herren’s achievements validate the conviction that a world without hunger is a realistic goal
when innovative science is pursued in balance with nature’s ecosystem.
His professional story begins with graduation from the ETH in Zurich, where he had studied agricultural science. Hans Herren’s career choices took him to Nigeria and confronted him with the threat of a food crisis for 200 million people due to the Cassava mealy bug ravaging this staple crop on the African continent. As Director of the Biological Control Program at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), he built up an international coalition to discover an effective, ecological way to fight the mealy bug, without resorting to pesticides, and execute it on a large scale. In recognition, he was awarded the World Food Prize
. During his subsequent tenure as the director general of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Kenya, Dr. Herren’s vision of an agro-ecosystem evolved into a new 4-H paradigm of human, animal, plant and environmental health.