Two former heads of state will share the 2011 World Food Prize. This year marks the 25th anniversary for the Iowa-based award which recognizes individuals for their efforts to fight worldwide hunger.
Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, took part in today’s announcement of this year’s recipients in Washington, D.C.
“The World Food Prize is for the first time ever going to be presented to two individuals who have demonstrated presidential leadership in transforming the situation in each of their countries by reducing hunger by more than half, which is in line with the U.N. millennium development goals,” Quinn said. The $250,000 World Food Prize will be awarded this fall, in Des Moines, to former Ghana president John Kufuor and former president of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Quinn says both men have set a “powerful example” for other leaders in the world. Kufuor was president of the Republic of Ghana from 2001 to 2009. Lula da Silva led Brazil from 2003 through 2010. “In each country, they set out a number of policies…but it was first and foremost their own emphasis on reducing hunger,” Quinn said. During Kufuor’s two terms as president, he implemented a nationwide school feeding program and other policies that increased the quality and quantity of food to Ghanaians.
“As a result, this cut in half their country’s poverty rate and reduced hunger from one-third of Ghana’s population to single digits,” Quinn said. In Brazil, before taking office, Lula da Silva announced fighting hunger and poverty would be his administration’s top priority. He implemented a “Zero Hunger” program.
“This involved reaching out through school feeding programs and increasing income levels of people at the very bottom of society so they could purchase food,” Quinn said. “As a result, 93-percent of children in Brazil are now eating three meals a day.” Child malnutrition in Brazil fell nearly 62% during Lula da Silva’s eight years as president.
Quinn was joined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack in making today’s announcement. The World Food Prize award will be formally presented on October 13 at the Iowa State Capitol.