Baron John Boyd Orr of Brechin

Nobel Peace Prize 1949


Father of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The Scottish physician and biologist John Boyd Orr emerged in the inter-war years as one of Britain's leading experts on nutrition. He maintained that many Britons were malnourished because their incomes were too low. Boyd Orr participated in the efforts in the League of Nations to achieve an international policy on nutrition. During the Second World War, he proposed the idea of a "world food plan" to President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the USA. In 1945 he was elected Director-General of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the first of the specialized organizations established under the United Nations. Food and prosperity for all people on earth led to peace, Boyd Orr argued.

Boyd Orr was an ardent adherent of world organization as a means of securing peace, and argued for a world government ruling according to rules of international law. The nations of the world were now so dependent on each other that they had to give up some of their sovereignty. Boyd Orr was elevated to the peerage for his national and international commitment.