Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted

Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted.

Trinidad-born scientist Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted was awarded the World Food Prize 2021 on Tuesday.

The announcement was made by US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken and Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture.

The World Food Prize is the most prominent global award recognizing an individual who has enhanced human development and confronted global hunger through improving the quality, quantity or availability of food for all.  

Thilsted, who was born in Reform Village, attended Naparima Girls’ High School before going on to earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Tropical Agriculture in 1971, from the University of West Indies, St Augustine.

After graduating, she worked as the first female agricultural officer at the Ministry of Agriculture in Tobago. While in Tobago she met her husband Finn Thilsted, a Danish citizen, and would migrate to Denmark with him.

In 1980 she received her Ph.D. in Physiology of Nutrition from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark, where she worked for many years.

Her research focused on food and nutrition security in many developing countries, especially in Asia and Africa.

Since 2010, she has been a researcher at WorldFish, headquartered in Penang, Malaysia.

WorldFish is part of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources. 

Thilsted's husband Finn is a former Danish ambassador to Bangladesh, Kenya and Nepal.

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