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Bread President Wins World Food Prize

July 2010

Rev. David Beckmann, Bread for the World’s president, has won the 2010 World Food Prize!

The award, announced June 16 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the Nobel Prize equivalent for food and agriculture, honoring people who have made breakthrough achievements in the quality, quantity, and availability of food throughout the world.

Beckmann shares the award with Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, which for many years has helped people in poor communities end hunger one family at a time.

“Engaging Millions of People”

The laureates were recognized for their “landmark achievements in building two of the world’s foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the world.” They will accept the prize at an international symposium in Des Moines, IA, on October 14, 2010.

“This year’s honorees have addressed hunger in innovative ways, engaging millions of people at home and abroad. Their contributions are critical,” Clinton said.

“Bread for the World has done an extraordinary job in not only providing positive responses in the fight against hunger,” she continued, “but in helping to really lead the way in terms of development and urging the United States to improve coordination and better target our investments and to learn from local communities, all lessons that we have embraced and applied in our Feed the Future Initiative.” Making foreign assistance more effective in reducing poverty and hunger was the topic of Bread’s 2009 Offering of Letters.

Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, added, “Through their leadership of two dynamic nonprofit organizations, [this year’s laureates] have had a dramatic impact in uplifting the lives of countless poor and hungry people around the world.”

This is the first time the prize has been awarded to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The previous laureates, who come from all over the world, work mainly in science, livestock health, and famine relief. In making the award, the prize committee recognized “the critical efforts of NGOs in mobilizing and empowering everyday citizens to end hunger in communities around the world.”

Beckmann emphasized that the World Food Prize honors the work of all Bread for the World members and churches in urging the U.S. government to do more to end hunger at home and abroad.

“U.S. funding for poverty-focused development assistance has tripled over the last decade, and nutrition programs for hungry people in this country have more than doubled,” he said. “This would not have happened without the advocacy of members and local congregations of Bread for the World.

“The World Food Prize gives us a boost at an important time. I hope it encourages more people to advocate for an end to hunger.”

As Beckmann explains in his new book, Exodus from Hunger, the world has an exceptional opportunity right now to change the politics of hunger. He gives examples of countries that have made strong progress against hunger and lays out a plan for making progress through our advocacy efforts. The book, published by Westminster John Knox, will be released October 6 but is available for pre-order now.

Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church said that after describing the progress that has been made, Exodus from Hunger “convincingly points to the potential for far greater progress if individual Christians and churches will continue to offer grassroots compassionate care to those in need, while also boldly challenging our government to more generously and wisely participate with us in the battle against poverty and hunger. It was a message I needed to hear.”

“This book is [Beckmann’s] seasoned manifesto concerning his long-term passion,” said Walter Brueggemann of Columbia Theological Seminary. “Those who read his book will be engaged by and recruited for this most urgent of issues. Economics makes the problem of hunger intractable, but the active purpose of God makes its resolution possible and compelling.”

To learn more about the 2010 World Food Prize or order Exodus from Hunger at a special pre-publication price, visit www.exodusfromhunger.org.

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