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FDSH student to attend Global Youth Institute

Tan wrote paper on solving hunger issue in Myanmar

October 10, 2011
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Xinci Tan will represent Fort Dodge Senior High at this year's Global Youth Institute in Des Moines.

There, Tan will present a paper she wrote addressing the issue of solving world hunger. According to her teacher and mentor Deb Hoover, Tan wrote about solving hunger in Myanmar using the country's resources and plant life.

"What each student has to do as part of the Global Youth Institute, they have to write a paper, basically a research paper, but very well-written, very well-versed, very well-researched. And they have to propose solutions to world hunger," she said.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Brandon L. Summers
Xinci Tan, a senior at FDSH, shows teacher-mentor Deb Hoover the paper she will be presenting at the Global Youth Institute.

Tan said she is looking forward to attending the institute.

"I am very excited about this. I have researched this country, Myanmar, very thoroughly, and I enjoyed very much learning about a different environment and a different country in which we don't really live and we don't really experience, other than through the research," she said.

The institute is hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation. Together, Tan and Hoover will attend its symposium, and Tan will get to discuss pressing food security and agriculture issues with Nobel laureates and international experts.

"The kids present this paper that they've written in front of laureates and Nobel prize winners," Hoover said. "It's a round-table-type of discussion individually, where they have to have commitment and conviction to the solution that they proposed in their paper."

In her paper, Tan was able to choose from a list of countries and had to address certain factors selected by the Global Youth Institute, Hoover said. The deadline for the paper was Sept. 23.

"A teacher-mentor selects a student that's committed to researching this well in advance," she said. "I usually pick my student in the spring so they've got all summer to research their factor and their country, and have their paper written."

Tan and Hoover will leave for the institute Thursday and come back Saturday night, with a dense schedule set for each day.

"We don't have a minute to do anything else. There's always something," Hoover said. "It's a lot of fun, but it's also an eye-opening experience."

Tan will attend a world hunger banquet, where some students might get four-course meals, some will only get rice and beans, while others will only get rice and water.

"Literally, we don't feed them at the end of the night. They're encouraged maybe to bring a snack," Hoover said.

Hoover said that while attending the institute is "extremely worthwhile" and has even helped inform her students' future careers, it's not for everyone.

"You'd have to have a little bit of background in world hunger," she said. "It's not for every student. But every student that I've taken, that's attended, it's been very worthwhile for them and they all come back and say it was awesome."

Hoover, who has selected the FDSH representative for the last 10 years, said the institute is a remarkable experience.

"Attending the Global Youth Institute allows them the opportunity to apply for an eight-week, all expenses paid internship at one of a dozen different facilities in the world, from Asia to Africa, to Mexico to India," she said.

Students participating in the institute are also given an invaluable opportunity for a Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, Hoover said.

"Of the hundred students or more that actually attend the symposium, 40 of them, maybe 40 or 50, might apply for the internship and 12 to 15 are actually chosen," she said.

Three of Hoover's students have been selected for that internship in the past.

"They come back wide-eyed because it's been a life-changing event for them," she said.

Contact Brandon L. Summers at (515) 573-2141 or



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