The 10th Annual George McGovern Leadership Award
Washington, DC – On October 24, 2011, World Food Program USA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, hosted the10th Annual George McGovern Leadership Award Ceremony and global hunger conference at the U.S. Department of State to highlight the contributions made by Howard Buffett and Bill Gates to global hunger efforts and to discuss the importance of public and private sector efforts in addressing global hunger.
Pictured: (L to R) Bill Gates, Howard G. Buffett and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Credit: WFP USA/Ralph Alswang
Keynote remarks were delivered by Vice President Joe Biden. The Vice President’s address was followed by a panel discussion on private sector engagement. Panelists included: Howard G. Buffett; Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator, USAID; Greg Page, chairman and CEO, Cargill; and The Honorable Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture. The panel was moderated by Betty Liu of Bloomberg News.
Immediately following the panel discussion, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — the 2010 recipient of the George McGovern Leadership Award — presented the 2011 George McGovern Leadership Award to Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates in recognition of their leadership in establishing the World Food Program’s Purchase for Progress program.
Secretary of State Clinton, Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates, together with the U.N. World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran, also participated in a conversation on efforts to address global hunger and how to address chronic hunger through enhancing capacity of small scale farmers.
“Howard Buffett and Bill Gates are outstanding leaders in the fight against hunger,” said Rick Leach, president and CEO of World Food Program USA. “Because of their leadership in establishing the Purchase for Progress program, they are helping to transition small-scale farmers from chronic hunger and extreme poverty into active participants in agricultural markets.”
A five-year pilot initiative in 21 countries, Purchase for Progress (P4P) links the U.N. World Food Program’s demand for staple food commodities with the technical expertise of a wide range of partners to build the capacity of farmers to access credit, increase agricultural production, and improve their ability to deliver a high quality product to markets. P4P offers a stable market for small-holder farmers, resulting in higher incomes, a vital tool toward long term solutions in hunger and poverty.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations’ early commitment to the Purchase for Progress program helped the World Food Program through the challenging task of translating a concept into a pilot program which was officially launched in September of 2008. And Buffett’s first-hand knowledge of farming makes him an especially passionate supporter and advocate for Purchase for Progress. Of the $44.5 million donated by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation to WFP, $29 million has supported P4P in four Central American countries and three countries in Africa, benefiting tens of thousands of farmers and their families.
“Small farmers play a crucial role in fighting global hunger and poverty, both for their own families and for the regions in which they live,” Buffett said. “It is critically important they have the opportunity to compete in the marketplace in order to reliably feed their families, help make their regions more food secure, and become full participants in their local economies.
The Gates Foundation generously granted a total of $67.1 million to support the initial planning for the program, and for the implementation, management, and administration of P4P in 10 countries in Africa.
“At a time of intense debate over budgets, we should remember that these kinds of investments not only save lives, improve livelihoods, and promote stability – they also save money in the long run,” Gates said. “These are long-term efforts that require long-term commitments.”
For the past nine years, World Food Program USA has hosted an award ceremony to recognize policy makers and other leaders who have played a critical role in the fight against global hunger. In 2009, the award was named after Senator George McGovern, in recognition of his leadership in advancing unprecedented U.S. government efforts to address global hunger. Past honorees include: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Senators George McGovern and Robert Dole; Senator Dick Lugar and Odette Loan of Cote D’Ivoire; Senator Dick Durbin and Paul Tergat of Kenya; Senator Tom Harkin and International Paper; and Representatives Jim McGovern, Jo Ann Emerson, and Rosa DeLauro.
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