The tribute formed part of the activities held to mark the international organization’s 75th anniversary.
San Jose, 9 November 2017 (IICA). “The establishment of an institute of tropical agriculture is vital … It would serve as a symbol of amity and of the economic and cultural relations between the Americas.” So reads the inscription next to the bust of U.S. agricultural expert Henry A. Wallace, founder of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The bust created in his honor was unveiled in the presence of ministers of agriculture from the Americas, IICA directors general emeritus, members of the diplomatic corps accredited in Costa Rica, representatives of international agencies and Institute staff during the Nineteenth Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), IICA’s highest governing body.
Before the bust was unveiled at the Institute’s headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Director General of IICA, Víctor M. Villalobos, highlighted the legacy of the “founding father of this noble institution” and thanked DuPont Pioneer for donating such an important symbol to the Institute.
Villalobos, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, Luis Felipe Arauz, and Jeffrey Nawn, Global Grain Trade Lead - DuPont Pioneer, unveiled the bust in the lobby of IICA’s Headquarters.
Nawn remarked that, “This bust is very important because it connects us to our history and serves as a reminder of the vision for the hemisphere’s agriculture of men like Henry Wallace. It also reminds us that IICA was created to raise our expectations of ourselves, our governments, our farmers, our researchers and our businesses.”
“This bust of Henry Wallace will remain here at IICA as a reminder to all of us, and to future generations, of our history, our obligations and our shared vision,” he concluded.
The inaugural ceremony of the IABA included a keynote address by Ricardo García de Alba, the representative of DuPont Pioneer Latin America, on Henry Wallace’s legacy and his impact on the future of agriculture.
The Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences, later renamed IICA, was created in 1942 thanks to the vision of Henry Wallace, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and Ernesto Molina, Ecuador’s Director General of Agriculture.
Mariano Montealegre, Costa Rica’s first Minister of Agriculture, subsequently suggested that the specialized agency for agriculture of the Inter-American System establish its headquarters in Costa Rica, from where it has worked tirelessly for the last 75 years to support the efforts of its 34 Member States to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being.
Héctor Iturbe, Technical Secretary of IICA’s Governing Bodies