President Joe Biden on Tuesday bestowed America’s highest honor for science on Ethiopian-born Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, a professor of agronomy at Purdue University.
Dr. Ejeta was among several recipients of the award for their outstanding contributions to the nation.
The president said this year’s recipients were not only outstanding but “extraordinary.”
” To all the honorees: Thank you, thank you, thank you for your courage, for your perseverance, and maybe most importantly for your integrity,” Biden said.
The president went on to say that the fact that many of this year’s honorees immigrated from other countries is proof that “everything is possible.”
Ejeta was born and grew up in west-central Ethiopia. In 2009, he received the 2009 World Food Prize for his research in creating sorghum hybrids that are resistant to both severe drought and the destructive parasitic Striga weed.
“The greatness of a country is measured not only by the size of its economy or the strength of its military. It’s — the strength of the nation is also measured by its boldness of its science, the quality of its research, and the progress it helps bring forth for not only the country but whole the world,” Biden said.
The Purdue professor is a sought-after policy expert on food security and has served as special advisor to the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and as a science envoy of the U.S. State Department. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources and has also had stints on the U.N. Secretary’s Scientific Advisory Board.
“Gebisa Ejeta is one of the most impactful geneticists in the world, a remarkable leader at Purdue in food security research, and a role model of perseverance for all Boilermakers. Our university celebrates another prestigious and richly deserved honor, bestowed by the president of the United States,” Purdue University President Mung Chiang said in an announcement to the university community.