“If it is true that what we believe governs what we do, then what we believe is very important.”
On July 10, 2019, Charles Owubah, the new CEO of Action Against Hunger, made this remark at the 65th anniversary celebration of Food for Peace, a development and emergency U.S. international food security program. The statement, made in a room filled with people who work to protect the world’s poor and vulnerable from food insecurity and malnutrition, was greeted with the positive nodding of heads.
Food for the Hungry, one of InterAction’s member organizations, recently approached our Food Security and Agriculture Working Group about co-hosting the 65th Anniversary Celebration of Food for Peace on the Capitol Hill.
The inspiring event was filled with success stories made possible by Food for Peace, and with reminders of the work that still needs to be done to achieve a food secure world. With his statement, Charles Owubah reminded us that we must hold strong in our belief that achieving a food secure world is possible, as this belief is what motivates every individual at the event who works in this sector.
As an Intern in the policy and advocacy space, I had seen the product of Hill receptions before but didn’t know much about what it took to plan them. I was excited to gain this experience and support InterAction, Food for the Hungry and nine additional organizational co-sponsors.
Each organization played a key role in making this event a reality. As a result of detailed planning, we were able to pull together materials showcasing how Food for Peace projects are implemented and a series of speakers including several key Congressional champions for Food for Peace, the Director of Food for Peace and leadership from InterAction members.
From CEOs to interns, a range of people attended this engaging event. It was incredible to see the room near capacity with over 175 people celebrating this important program. Guests learned about Food for Peace projects and listened to a lineup of speakers including Trey Hicks, the Director for Food for Peace, Michael Klosson from Save the Children, Dina Esposito from Mercy Corps, Bill O’Keefe from Catholic Relief Services, Dr. Charles Owubah from Action Against Hunger, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Rep. Robert Marshall (R-KS).
Rep. Conaway (R-TX), who has seen the impact of Food for Peace first-hand, gave an emotional speech about the power of the program. Rep. McGovern (D-MA) spoke about the importance of Food for Peace to combat malnutrition and hunger around the globe and spoke of the political willpower needed to overcome an enormous issue that “requires us to do more.” Closing the program, Rep. Marshall (R-KS) expressed his desire to carry on the bipartisan legacy of Food for Peace and thanked everyone present for what they do to make the program successful.
Many left the event feeling reenergized about continuing the mission of ending world hunger. It was amazing to see what America is capable of when people, from different political parties and different backgrounds, come together to achieve a goal.
Through strategic collaboration and aligned efforts, incredible things are possible. I am very grateful for the experience of helping plan this event and look forward to being part of the diverse team that achieves a food secure world.
Our co-sponsors would like to thank our speakers including:
- Noam Unger, InterAction
- Michael Klosson, Save the Children
- Dina Esposito, Mercy Corps
- Charles Owubah, Action Against Hunger
- Bill O’Keefe, Catholic Relief Services
- Trey Hicks, USAID office of Food for Peace
- Mike Conaway (R-TX11)
- Jim Costa (D-CA16)
- Jim McGovern (D-MA02)
- Robert Marshall (R-KS02)
- John Boozman (AK)
- Pat Roberts (KS)