by Max Brantley
Jo Luck, the long-time leader of Heifer International, will share the 2010 World Food Prize and its $250,000 award for her work in a worldwide effort to fight poverty and hunger. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, is the co-recipient.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 16, 2010) — Heifer International President Jo Luck today was named co-recipient of The World Food Prize—only the third woman to be so honored—for her work through Heifer to ensure availability and sustainability of food to people in need around the world.
She shares the prestigious 2010 prize with David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry people. Each will receive a World Food Prize sculpture, a framed Laureate Certificate and will share the $250,000 award.
The award will be presented Oct. 14, at the state Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of the 2010 Borlaug Dialogue, the theme of which is "Take it to the Farmer: Reaching the World's Smallholders."
“Jo Luck and David Beckmann are receiving the 2010 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,” according to the World Food Prize citation.
“In honoring Jo Luck and David Beckmann, the World Food Prize recognizes the critical efforts of NGOs in mobilizing and empowering grassroots citizens to end hunger in communities around the world.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in the announcement of the World Food Prize winners in a ceremony today in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. State Department. The prize is the foremost international award, recognizing individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
“I cannot begin to adequately express what this award means to me,” said Jo Luck. “This is the absolute pinnacle of my professional life. And to share this prize with David (Beckmann), a personal friend for whom I have great respect, is an added honor.”
“Although this is a personal recognition, it would not have been possible without the efforts of the men and women who have shepherded Heifer International for more than 65 years, and the millions of families who have been helped and today continue to help others through Heifer’s unique requirement that each beneficiary must Pass on the Gift to others, thus becoming a donor themselves. This provides the dignity they so richly deserve.
The October World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony rivals that of the Nobel Prize, drawing more than 800 people from more than 65 countries.
For more than 20 years, Jo Luck helped lead Heifer, becoming president and chief executive officer in 1992. Under her lead, Heifer grew from a $7 million budget to more than $130 million, and she helped expand programs and projects into numerous countries worldwide.
“When I am asked, ‘What about the other global problems besides hunger,’ I say that without sustenance, people are not able to address other issues,” Jo Luck said. “For me, ending hunger is a prerequisite for peace.”
Jo Luck joined Heifer International in 1989 as director of International Programs, and in 1992 was named president and chief executive officer of the organization. That same year she became president of the Heifer International Foundation, serving until 2001.
Jo Luck is currently writing a book for Heifer about her two decades’ of experiences with the global hunger-fighting organization and the families it serves.
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.
For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 1-800-696-1918.