World Food Prize honors anti-hunger advocates

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — David Beckmann and Jo Luck, advocates for ending poverty worldwide, were named co-winners of the 2010 World Food Prize at a June 16 ceremony at the U.S. State Department that featured Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.

“David Beckmann and Jo Luck are receiving the World Food Prize for their landmark achievements in building Bread for the World and Heifer International into two of the world’s foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the globe,” said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation.

Mr. Beckmann has been head of Washington-based Bread for the World since 1991. The organization is described as “a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.” In his role as head of the group, Mr. Beckmann leads an annual advocacy effort in which a quarter of a million constituents contact their elected officials to urge support for legislation to change the policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger to persist.

During his tenure, membership at Bread for the World has expanded to 72,500 from 44,500.

Ms. Luck is chief executive officer of Heifer International, Little Rock, Ark., a hunger-fighting organization that seeks to bring food- and income-producing animals to extremely poor families, guiding them to self-reliance, and providing opportunity for improved livelihoods through animal husbandry, technical training, and community development.

Since becoming c.e.o. in 1992, Ms. Luck has expanded the scope and impact of Heifer’s activities worldwide, the World Food Prize said, and through her leadership, Heifer has helped educate the world’s resource-poor and hungry, combating hunger by teaching poor communities how to become self-sustaining. She has created innovative public education initiatives linking grassroots donors in rich countries to recipients in developing countries. As a result, the number of Heifer supporters grew from 20,000 in 1992 to more than 500,000 in 2009.

“World Food Prize founder Dr. Norman Borlaug believed we had the collective duty and knowledge to eradicate hunger worldwide,” Mr. Vilsack said. “David Beckmann and Jo Luck’s efforts to bring hundreds of thousands of global citizens into the battle against hunger and poverty domestically and around the globe are shining examples of his vision in action.”

The 2010 World Food Prize will be presented formally to Mr. Beckmann and Ms. Luck at the 2010 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on Oct. 14. The ceremony will be held as part of the World Food Prize’s 2010 Borlaug Dialogue, themed “Take it to the Farmer: Reaching the World’s Smallholders.”

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