World Food Prize president reflects on ‘very unusual’ career
DES MOINES — For many, a trip to the House of Lords in London to be honored with a rarely given international humanitarian award for working to prevent genocide would be the culmination of a career.
But for Kenneth Quinn, 76, being only the second person bestowed with the Steven Krulis Champion of Humanity Distinguished Service Award presented by the Aegis Trust of Great Britain took a back seat to being honored in 2014 as the 23rd recipient of the Iowa Award.
The state’s highest citizen honor was established in 1948, and Quinn described earning it as “the pinnacle of recognition.”
“Receiving the Iowa Medal I think is unparalleled,” he said in a recent interview. “To have my name associated with Norman Borlaug and George Washington Carver and Herbert Hoover, Henry Wallace — that’s an incomparable experience and an honor beyond anything that I ever could have imagined possible while going to Loras College in Dubuque in the 1960s.”
Quinn moved with his family from New York to Dubuque at age 10. He graduated from Wahlert High School and Loras College.After a 32-year career as a State Department officer in the Foreign Service that included a stint as the 10th U.S. ambassador to Cambodia from December 1995 to July 1999, Quinn took the reins of the World Food Prize Foundation as its president.
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