Celebrating the Life of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan

October 2, 2023
Dr. Swaminathan stands three men from Bangladesh at a meeting.

Dr. Swaminathan served as Chair of The Hunger Project’s Global Board from 1995 – 2000 

We are saddened to share that Dr. Mankombu Sambasivan (M.S.) Swaminathan, the architect of the green revolution in India and a passionate leader for the end of hunger, passed away on September 28, 2023. Dr. Swaminathan served on our Global Board of Directors from 1985 – 2000, taking on the role of Chair from 1995-2000, and continued on as an Honorary Director, advocate and supporter until his passing.

Dr. Swaminathan was a prominent agriculture scientist and researcher and worked closely with Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug to identify and breed wheat that would thrive in India, allowing the country to reduce its reliance on imported crops. 

“Dr. Swaminathan leaves an amazing legacy for the end of hunger. I deeply admire his commitment to advocating for ecologically-balanced farming approaches and for ensuring the latest agricultural technologies and techniques were accessible to the small-scale farmer. We at The Hunger Project are forever grateful for his contribution to our organization and to our world,” said Tim Prewitt, President and CEO, The Hunger Project. 

In 1985, Dr. Swaminathan joined The Hunger Project’s Global Board of Directors, at the invitation of Ramkrishna Bajaj, the late Gandhian industrialist and philanthropist. His arrival coincided with a shift in context for The Hunger Project and the implementation of our first field programs. 

Dr. Swaminathan played a key role in the Global Board’s commitment to reinventing The Hunger Project and focus it on pioneering methodologies for decentralized, holistic, bottom-up development. His leadership and commitment catalyzed action throughout India and created a foundation for The Hunger Project’s work today.

“I feel so privileged to have worked closely with Dr. Swaminathan for twenty years. His humility and wisdom taught us so much,” shares John Coonrod, Executive Vice President of The Hunger Project, who worked closely with Dr. Swaminathan to launch The Hunger Project’s activities in India. 

We thank Dr. Swaminathan for all his contributions to creating a world without hunger. His legacy will live on in each member of The Hunger Project family as we work to embody his steadfast commitment to empowering small-scale farmers for the sustainable end of hunger.

Photo: Dr. Swaminathan stands with participants in a strategy session in Bangladesh in 1994.