15) ICRISAT Director General William Dar receives MS Swaminathan Leadership in Agriculture award

Hyderabad, India (24 June 2013) – The Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Dr William D. Dar, received the MS Swaminathan Award for Leadership in Agriculture for the year 2013. Chief Guest, Dr K Kasturirangan, Member (Science) Planning Commission, Government of India, conferred the award on Dr Dar in New Delhi today.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam receiving the ICRISAT Ambassador of Goodwill plaque from Director General WD Dar
Dr Dar receiving the award from Dr K Kasturirangan (right). Also seen is
Dr RS Paroda (left).
photo: ICRISAT

Speaking before a packed audience of more than a thousand senior scientists, students of agriculture and representatives of CGIAR Institutes in the BP Pal auditorium of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Dr Kasturirangan said, “Today Dr William D. Dar joins a select group of extraordinary minds who have influenced, in a major way, the developments in agricultural science and through the same the global food security. Named after one of the legendary figures of Indian agriculture, Dr MS Swaminathan, the father of India’s ‘Green Revolution’, this award is India’s version of the World Food Prize.” 

An excerpt from the award citation states, “His work has created great impact on the lives of resource poor farmers. Dr. Dar has also actively promoted Public-Private-Farmer partnership linking strongly the end users with the National Agricultural Research System as well as International Agricultural Research Centers. Under his leadership, effective research collaboration has been established in areas like germplasm exchange, biotechnology, crop improvement, water conservation, capacity building, and policy….His passion is to help alleviate the socioeconomic conditions of the poor living in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Commending Dr Dar's contributions in the field of agricultural research, Dr K Kasturirangan further said, "Needless to emphasize, the earlier awardees of this recognition are a list of who’s who among the top researchers, who, besides making seminal contributions to this subject, have also helped India in meeting the challenges of realizing food self-sufficiency and giving it a unique global leadership in the agriculture and associated endeavors. It is thus natural that Dr Dar has been selected by the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), as the awardee for this year, recognizing his multidimensional and distinguished contributions as an eminent educationist, agriculturist, scientist, administrator and above all a fine humanitarian. 

"Dr Dar's leadership of ICRISAT has been transformational, and today this institution enjoys a reputation that places it among the top few centers of excellence recognized globally. I join everyone in this country, the scientific community and the agricultural scientists in particular, in extending my heartiest congratulations to Dr William D. Dar for this well-deserved recognition,” Dr K Kasturirangan added.

Responding to the award, Dr Dar said, "I am deeply honored to receive this award. I consider this to be a major milestone in my professional life. I am humbled to be asked to join the list of outstanding awardees that have contributed so much to improving the human condition.  

"This Award is about leadership. I believe that the most important task of a successful leader is to rally his team around a compelling vision of the future, and to have an effective strategy to bring that vision into reality," Dr Dar added.

Highlighting ICRISAT’s vision Dr Dar elaborated on the institute’s strategic approach called Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD).  “IMOD has changed the static thinking. IMOD is a process of movement along a development pathway from impoverished subsistence farming, to prosperous market-oriented farming. This movement is ‘dynamic’ and compelled us to put priority on innovations that would move farmers from poverty to prosperity, instead of innovations that would leave them only a little less poor," he said.

William Dollente Dar is a citizen of the Philippines and specialized originally in horticulture, and received his doctoral degree from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Prior to joining ICRISAT, Dr. Dar had served as Advisor to the President of the Philippines. He is also the recipient of several awards and degrees. He joined ICRISAT as Director General in 2000, and under his leadership ICRISAT has seen a major transformation in terms of agricultural research and scientific breakthroughs, together with strategic partners.

In his message, Dr MS Swaminathan said, "I am happy that the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences has recognized the work of outstanding scientists as one of the methods of advancing the cause of scientific excellence and social relevance in agricultural research.

"I am particularly happy that the award this year is going to Dr William D. Dar, Director General of ICRISAT.  Dr Dar is a pioneer in imparting a human face to scientific research and economic development.  What we need is the kind of leadership that Dr Dar is providing to ensure that science serves the cause of sustainable food security as well as human wellbeing and happiness."

Dr Swaminathan expressed his gratitude to Dr RS Paroda, Chairman, TAAS for his untiring efforts to harness the best in science for achieving the goal of food for all and forever.

Instituted by TAAS, the award is in honor of Dr MS Swaminathan, the architect of the Green Revolution in India and chairman of the National Commission of Farmers, and recognizes those who have made great impact in the field of agriculture on a global basis, and in food security and sustainability of agriculture in India.  The present award is the seventh in the series. The first one was given to Dr Norman Borlaug, the famous agricultural scientist who was also a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

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