Listening to Dr. Gebisa Ejeta answer my questions was like listening to water slip over smooth rocks. His deep, earnest voice and his true brilliance came out in every answer that he gave. I sat there staring back at him fascinated. I was sitting with a man who had potentially saved millions of people’s lives.
A true humanitarian, Gebisa Ejeta was recognized as the 2009 World Food Prize Laureate for his development of Sorghum hybrids that are resistant to drought and the devastating Striga weed. His developments have increased production and availability of Sorghum and enhanced the food supply of hundreds of millions of people in Africa.
Growing up in a one-room thatched hut in Ethiopia, Ejeta knew how it felt to go hungry. Thanks to his mother, Ejeta pursued an education that would eventually land him at Alemaya College established by Oklahoma State University in eastern Ethiopia. From there he would then go on to attend Purdue University where his research would culminate into a crop that would prove to be life changing for many Africans.
Not only was he a hero in agriculture, he was a national hero on the hardwood. Wearing jerseys from Oklahoma A&M University, Ejeta played on the Ethiopian National Team.
Ejeta has personally trained and inspired a new generation of African farmers and scientists that are continuing to carry on his work. After just a few short minutes with him I know his efforts will affect the people he has helped for centuries to come. (NOTE – there is a long pause at the beginning of this video, then a gap around the 7 minute mark for 30-45 seconds. You may Hold your mouse down and pull the ticker forward to skip the black space. Thanks.)
~ Courtenay Dehoff