In partnership with the U.S. Department of State, World Food Program USA honored David Novak, Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands and Christina Aguilera, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Ambassador Against Hunger with the George McGovern Leadership Award.
The ceremony highlighted each honoree’s significant contributions in the global effort to solve hunger and concluded with a special tribute to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s legacy of leadership in advancing food security and nutrition. The event also included a roundtable discussion between USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Aguilera, and Novak on the power of government and corporate partnerships to address food security globally.
“World Food Program USA believes hunger is the world’s most solvable problem," says Rick Leach, World Food Program USA president and CEO. “Thanks to the efforts of David and Christina and the leadership of Secretary Clinton, not only are we closer to reaching that goal, but we’re reaching and inspiring a new generation to work alongside us in our fight.”
Novak has made considerable contributions to the fight against hunger through the company’s Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief effort that raises awareness, volunteerism, and funds for the World Food Programme and others, with Christina Aguilera as global spokesperson. World Hunger Relief is operated throughout Yum’s 38,000 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants in more than 120 countries and is the world’s largest private-sector hunger relief initiative. The effort has raised $115 million for WFP and others, providing 460 million meals to hungry children around the globe – for school meals to emergencies, from Haiti to the Horn of Africa.
“As a woman and mother, I’m honored to receive this award and be part of the global effort to solve hunger,” says Christina Aguilera. “For just 25 cents a day, we can feed a child in school and be part of the solution. In my travels with the World Food Programme, I've seen firsthand how that meal changes the life of a child. It’s the stories I’ve heard and the people I’ve met through World Food Programme that I carry with me every day.”
“It is a great honor to accept this recognition on behalf of our 1.4 million employees and franchisees of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell,” says David Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum. “With nearly 1 billion people going hungry around the world, we all need to help find a solution to this critical issue. We are thankful to the World Food Programme for their incredible work on the front line, to Secretary Clinton for her unprecedented leadership, to Christina Aguilera for raising her voice for good, and to our entire system who have volunteered millions of hours to fight global hunger. We believe it is our privilege and responsibility to do everything we can to make a difference and save lives,” Novak adds.
Fighting hunger and malnutrition is good for people, good for the economy, and good for global stability and national security. Now more than ever, we are able to provide efficient and effective solutions for one of the world’s most pressing—yet solvable—problems: global hunger.
Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, the U.S. has been a global force in tackling hunger and advancing the goals of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s food security initiative, which supports investments to develop the agricultural sector of partner countries to spur broad-based economic growth and improve nutrition.
For the past 10 years, World Food Program USA has hosted an annual award ceremony to recognize 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. The award was created by Dutch sculptor Marianne Houtkamp to honor the hardships endured by those she met during her many years living in Kenya. The sculpture, titled “Bright Future” is a testament to hope, depicting a mother raising her child up to new opportunities.
This year’s McGovern Awards signature sponsors and partners are Yum and Monsanto, helping lead in the fight against food insecurity and support World Food Program USA’s efforts to solve hunger globally.
Past honorees include: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Bill Gates and Howard G. Buffett; 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.