About Us

Established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1979, World Food Day, October 16, was first observed in 1981. Organizations around the world mobilize advocacy campaigns and events on October 16 to strengthen the political will to end hunger.  World Food Day offers the opportunity to strengthen national and international solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food security and agricultural development.

The United States has a long history of collaborative action against hunger on World Food Day. Since its inception, the day has been observed in the US to create solidarity among groups working to end hunger and to educate thousands of people, young and old, about the roots of global hunger and the multi-faceted approaches to end it. 

Central to U.S. observances for the first 30 years was the annual World Food Day Teleconference. Each year the teleconference featured world leaders and renowned experts in a wide range of fields including agriculture, economics, nutrition, environmental science and human rights. These panelists addressed key questions facing the international community in the fight against hunger. The teleconference was broadcast to hundreds of universities across the nation and students had an opportunity to ask questions directly of the panelists, having studied and prepared in advance through a themed study packet.

In addition to the teleconference, a network of 450 organizations have taken action in their own ways to showcase models of success in food security and to highlight what more needs to be done.  Today, building on the success of the first 30 years, this World Food Day network is collaborating in new and innovative ways to make ending hunger a priority for all. 

Canada has long been host to a number of World Food Day observances from large conferences to smaller community events.  These groups are now joining with the US groups to form a more unified North American network. 

If only we had the political will, we could eliminate extreme hunger from the planet.  It is the greatest atrocity of our time that we have the solutions to end the suffering of nearly a billion people, but not the will to do what is necessary to enact them. Join the members of the World Food Day network and take action this October 16 and year round to make the basic human right to food a reality for everyone. 

Year

FAO Global Theme and Materials

2012

Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to Feeding the World

2011

Food prices - from crisis to stability

2010

United against Hunger

2009

Achieving Food Security in Times of Crisis 

 

FAO Global Theme and Materials

U.S. Teleconference Theme and Panelists

2008

World Food Security: The Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy

Choices for a Warm and Hungry Planet

Dr. Nancy Birdsall, founding president of the Center for Global Development

Dr. Siwa Msangi, Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Secretary of State

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS; Jim Lehrer, NewsHour (Host)

2007

The Right to Food

Climate: Changes, Challenges and Consequences

Suzanne Hunt, Independent Consultant

Dr. Cynthia E. Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Dr. Stephen H. Schneider, Stanford University and a Coordinating Lead Author with the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC)

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS; Jim Lehrer, NewsHour (Host)

2006

Investing in Agriculture for Food Security

Power of the People: Bottom-up Solutions to Hunger

Dr. Makanjuola Olaseinde Arigbede, Medical Doctor and Development Activist (Nigeria)

Dr. Deepa Narayan, World Bank Senior Advisor on Poverty Reduction (India)

Eva Clayton, Former Congresswoman and FAO Associate Director-General  (retired)
Live uplink from World Food Prize

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS;  Jim Lehrer, NewsHour (Host)

2005

Agriculture and Intercultural Dialogue

Reflections on Fighting Hunger: Roads not Taken; Goals not Met; The Journey Ahead

Frances Moore Lappé, Author and Hunger Activist

Dr. Pedro Sanchez, UN Task Force on Hunger and World Food Prize Laureate

Dr. Wangari Maathai,  Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (Kenya)

Ambassador Tony Hall, U.S. Representative to the Rome Food Agencies - Live uplink from World Food Prize

Daniel Zwerdling, Senior Correspondent, NPR (Host)

2004

Biodiversity for Food Security

Politics of Hunger: What’s at Stake?

Dr. Werner Kiene, World Food Program representative to the World Bank (Austria)

Dr. Felipe Manteiga, Former Director of World Food Security at AID

Live uplink from World Food Prize ceremonies with Dr. Norman Borlaug; cameo appearance by Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Venaman.

Daniel Zwerdling, Senior Correspondent, NPR (Host)

2003

Working together for an International Alliance to End Hunger

Collaboration or Calamity: Africa in Peril

Dr. Urban Jonsson, UNICEF Senior Advisor on Human Rights and former Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa (Sweden)

Dr. Catherine Bertini, UN Under Secretary-General and Winner of the 2004 World Food Prize

Cameo Appearances by Rudo Chitiga (Zimbabwe), Commonwealth Foundation; Julius Coles, Africare; Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson; Ambassador Tony Hall; Ruth Meinzen-Dick, IFPRI; Bruce Moore, International Land Coalition (IFAD); Jean-Francois Rischard, World Bank; Mme. Marie Angelique Savane (Senegal), African Association for Women In Development; Marcella Villarreal, FAO

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS;  Jim Lehrer, NewsHour (Host) .

2002

Water: Source of Food Security

Hungry Farmers:  A National Security Issue for all

Professor Michael Lipton, Founder of the Poverty Research Institute at the University of Sussex and Lead Author of  IFAD's 2001 Rural Poverty Report. (England)

Cameo Appearances by Louise Fresco, Assistant Director-General of FAO's Agriculture Department and Ambassador George McGovern, former Senator from South Dakota and U.S. Ambassador to the Food Agencies in Rome

Michael Marlow, Producer of White House Chronicles.

2001

Fight Hunger to Reduce Poverty

World Food System: Serving Some or Serving All

Dr. Wenche Barth Eide, Institute for Nutrition Research, University of Oslo, and pioneer advocate for a human-rights based approach to development

Cameo Appearances by Ann M. Veneman, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Andrew Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development.

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS; Jim Lehrer, NewsHour (Host) .

2000

A Millennium Free from Hunger

Poverty and Hunger: The Tragic Link

Prof. Amartya K. Sen, Winner of 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics in a "Conversation with Prof. Sen" (India)

Cameo Appearances by Dr. Catherine Bertini, Director-General of the World Food Program and Dr. Hartwig DeHaen, Assistant Director-General of FAO.

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS;  Jim Lehrer, NewsHour (Host)

1999

Youth Against Hunger

Tomorrow’s Farmers: An Uncertain Future

Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, General Manager, Ethiopian Environmental Authority

Dr. Kevin D. Gallagher, Global Integrated Pest Management Expert, FAO

Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Economist and former Vice-President of Costa Rica

Dr. Rekha Mehra, Vice President, International Center for Research on Women (India)

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS; Jim Lehrer, NewsHour (Moderator)

1998

Women Feed the World

Food for All: Right or Goal

Ms. Betty Oyella Bigombe, Social Scientist, World Bank (Uganda)

Ms. Anuradha Mittal, U.S. Coordinator, Food First Information and Action Network (India)

Mr. Arne Oshaug, Deputy General Director General, Royal Ministry of Agriculture (Norway)

Mr. Leonard Rogers, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Humanitarian Response (USAID)

Ray Suarez, Host of Talk of the Nation, National Public Radio (Moderator)

1997

Investing in Food Security

World Food Summit: Promises and Prospects

Ms. Rudo Chitiga, Director-General, Global Programs, Development Innovations and Networks (Zimbabwe)

Ms. Kay Killingsworth, Secretary-General, World Food Summit, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

Mr. Antonio Quizon, Executive Director, Asian NGO Network (Philippines)

Dr. Flavio Valente, Global Secretariat, Global Forum on Sustainable Food and Nutritional Security (Brazil)

John Hockenberry, Correspondent, Dateline NBC (Moderator)

1996

Fighting Hunger and Malnutrition

People Power: Harvest of Hope

Mr. Roland Bunch, Author and Consultant on Rural Development (Honduras)

Dr. Florence Chenoweth, FAO Representative, The Gambia

Ms. Ravadee Prasertcharoensuk, Secretary Southeast Asia Association on Sustainable Agriculture (Thailand)

Dr. Plinio Sampaio, Professor of Economics at Catholic University of Sao Paulo (Brazil)

Ray Suarez, Host of Talk of the Nation, National Public Radio (Moderator)

1995

Food for All

Fighting Hunger: Looking Back. Looking Ahead

Dr. Leena Maria Kirjavainen, Director, FAO Division of Women and People's Participation

Dr. Howard R. Kramer, Director, AID Food for Peace

Bishop Mauro Morelli, President of Brazilian National Food Security Council

Dr. Gerald I. Trant, Executive Director of UN World Food Council (1986-1992)

Sanford J. Ungar, Dean, School of Communications, American University (Moderator)

1994

Water for Life

Sharing Water: Farms, Cities and Ecosystems

Dr. Jose Felix Alfaro, International Consultant on Water

Ms. Sandra Postel, Director, The Global Water Policy Project

Ms. Rita Schmidt Sudman, Executive Director, Water Education Foundation

Dr. Hans W. Wolter, Chief, FAO Water Resources Development and Management Service

Alex Chadwick, National Public Radio (Moderator)

1993

Harvesting Nature's Diversity

Seeds of Conflict: Biodiversity and Food Security

Dr. Jose Esquinas Alcazar, Secretary, FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources

Dr. Jeffrey Bennetzen, Purdue University

Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin, Director-General, International Board for Plant Genetic Resources

Ms. Hope Shand, Research Director, Rural Advancement Foundation International

Miriam Hernandez, CBS-TV Washington (Moderator)

1992

Food and Nutrition

Nutrition: Linking Food. Health and Development

Dr. Richard Jolly, Deputy Director of UNICEF

Dr. Fernando Monckeberg, Director of Institute of Nutrition and Technology (Chile)

Dr. A. Wynante Patterson, Director of the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (Jamaica)

Dr. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Director-General of the International Food Policy Research Institute

Deborah Potter, Washington-based correspondent for CNN (Moderator)

1991

Trees for Life

The Hunger Puzzle: Adding the Macroeconomic Pieces -Trade. Debt and Structural Adjustment

Antonio Cabrera Mano Filho, Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (Brazil)

Dr. Hazel Henderson, economist and author

Dr. Norman Hicks, World Bank Economic Advisor for Latin American and the Caribbean

Dr. Atherton Martin, Caribbean Development Specialist and former Minister of Sgriculture of the Commonwealth of Dominica

Georgie Ann Geyer, columnist and author (Moderator)

1990

Food for the Future

Food for the Future: Science. Policy and Ethics

Ambassador Robert O. Blake, chairperson of the Committee on Agricultural Sustainability for Developing Countries

Professor Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, rector of United Nations University (Tokyo)

Dr. Joan Dye Gussow, Mary Swartz Rose Professor of Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. John S. Niederhauser, 1990 World Food Prize Laureate for work in potato breeding

Nancy Amadei, syndicated columnist and lecturer (Moderator)

1989

Food and the Environment

Food,  Environment and Development

Senator Albert Gore, Jr., Senate leader on environmental issues

Dr. Verghese Kurien, Indian Dairy Cooperative, World Food Prize Laureate

Ambassador Stephen Lewis, former Permanent Representative to UN from Canada

Dr. Roberta Balstad Miller, Director, Division of Social and Economic Science of the National Science Foundation

Judy Woodruff, chief Washington correspondent for PBS MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (Moderator)

1988

Rural Youth

Global Food Security: Focus on Africa

Dr. Duane Acker, AID Director for Food and Agriculture and former President of Kansas State University

Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, Executive Director of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (Nigeria)

Prof. Mazide N'Diaye, President of the Congress of Non-Governmental Organizations for Development (Senegal)

Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Vice-President of Equator Bank Ltd., and a founder of the Liberian Action Party (Liberia)

Renee Poussaint, WJLA- TV Washington News Anchorwoman (Moderator)

1987

Small Farmers

Right to Food: From Awareness to Action

Dr. Hernando De Soto, founder and director, Institute for Liberty and Democracy (Peru)

Dr. John Gatu, Vice-President of the All-Africa Council of Churches (Kenya)

Ms. Anne Kanten, founding member of the American Agriculture Movement

Ms. Torild Skard, Chief of Multilateral Department, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Development Cooperation

Maureen Bunyan, CBS-TV Washington news anchorwoman (Moderator)

1986

Fishermen and Fishing Communities

Hunger Amidst Plenty

Dr. Patricia Barnes-McConnell, Director of Michigan State University Collaborative Research Support Program

Mr. Barber Conable, President of the World Bank

Ambassador Cecilia Lopez, former Vice-Minister of Agriculture of Colombia

Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Director of Grameen Bank (Bangladesh)

John Scali, ABC News Senior Correspondent and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (Moderator)

1985

Rural Poverty

Food and Poverty: Perspectives. Policies. Prospects.

Ms. Barbara Huddleston, Chief of FAO Food Security Service

Mr. Peter McPherson, Administrator, Agency for International Development

Senator Paul Sarbanes, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Mme. Marie Savane, President, Association of African Women for Research on Development (Sengal)

Rene Poussaint, WJLA-TV news anchorwoman (Moderator)

1984

Women in Agriculture

1984 - World Food Conference - Ten Years Later

John R. Block, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Father William Byron, President of The Catholic University of America

Dr. Ruth Finney, Chief of FAO's Women in Agriculture Service

Dr. Frederick Hutchinson, Executive Director, BIFAD

Rep. Mickey Leland, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Hunger

Ambassador M' Alineo Tau of Lesotho

Professor William Dando, author of "Geography of Famine" (Moderator)

1983

Food Security

 

1982

Food Comes First

 

1981

Food Comes First

 

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