Ethiopian-Born Scientist Gebisa Ejeta Awarded the US National Medal of Science

Gebisa Ejeta, an Ethiopian-born scientist, has been honored with the prestigious National Medal of Science, the highest scientific accolade in the United States. President Joe Biden recognized Ejeta for his groundbreaking work in plant genetics, particularly in developing drought and parasite-resistant strains of sorghum, a critical food source in Africa.

Ejeta, now a distinguished professor at Purdue University, Indiana, and an American citizen, has made significant contributions to improving global food security. His work, influenced by his childhood experiences of hunger and food scarcity in Ethiopia, led to the creation of a sorghum hybrid resistant to drought and the Striga weed. This innovation earned him the World Food Prize in 2009.

Sorghum, the world’s fifth-most important cereal crop and a staple in many African countries, has been a focal point of Ejeta’s research. His efforts have had a profound impact on food security, particularly in drought-prone regions.

Raised in a small village near Addis Ababa, Ejeta’s journey from a humble background, characterized by limited access to education and consistent hunger, to an internationally acclaimed scientist, is a story of resilience and dedication. His work at Purdue University, where he leads global food security programs, has been celebrated for its impact on the lives of farmers and on nations’ economies.

President Biden, during the award ceremony, lauded Ejeta’s contributions to science and his advocacy for policies and institutions vital for economic development. Ejeta was one of nine eminent scientists to receive the accolade at the White House, a testament to his significant contributions to science and humanity.