Carnegie Corporation of New York released its annual list of Great Immigrants, Great Americans for 2021. It honors 34 individuals who have enriched and strengthened our society and our democracy through their contributions and actions. Dr. Pedro Sanchez, research professor of tropical soils in the UF/IFAS soil and water sciences department, is included on the list.
Sanchez is the 2002 World Food Prize laureate, a 2004 MacArthur Fellow, and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2012. The Corporation chose him, because “he has dedicated his career to eliminating world hunger and absolute rural poverty, working to protect and enhance degraded soils in South America and Africa.”
Born and raised in Cuba, Sanchez grew up on his family’s farm, which also served as a fertilizer business. He received his elementary and secondary education at Colegio de la Salle in Havana. He came to the United States to attend college at Cornell University, where he earned all three of his degrees – a B.S. in agronomy, an M.S. and a Ph.D. in soil science.
Sanchez served as Director-General of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya from 1991-2001, as co-chair of the United Nations Millennium Project Hunger Task Force from 2002-2005, and as director of the Millennium Villages Project from 2004-2010. Sanchez is Professor Emeritus of Soil Science and Forestry at North Carolina State University, where he served in the faculty from 1968-1991.
In addition to Cuba and the United States, Sanchez has lived in the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, and Kenya. He supervised research programs in more than 25 countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
The Great Immigrants, Great Americans initiative launched in 2006. The goal is to increase public awareness of immigration’s role in our country, reflecting the priorities of Andrew Carnegie, a self-made industrialist who emigrated from Scotland. To date, the Corporation has honored more than 600 outstanding immigrants. The Corporation also contributes funding to The New Americans Campaign, a nonprofit that provides free legal assistance to legal permanent residents seeking U.S. citizenship.