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Keynote Address: David Beasley

About the Session:

Keynote: David Beasley, WFP

Mr. David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme presents a keynote address to the 22nd Annual Global Child Nutrition Forum.

Highlights from the Session:

Keynote: David Beasley, WFP

·        An entire generation has had their education disrupted due to school closures. At the peak in the first wave 1.6 billion child had been locked out of the classroom.

·        Millions of vulnerable children have also had their long-term health and well-being put at risk because they’ve missed out on precious free school meals, the only nutritious meal that many of them get each day.

·        At the peak of the pandemic, 370 million children lost out on school meals, exacerbating the threat of a COVID induced global hunger pandemic. The virus is threating to rob these kids of their very important future.

·        All the evidence shows that school meals and school meal programs, along with other social safety nets are one of the best long term investments governments can make. School meals combat child hunger, support their long-term well-being, and help children learn and help children thrive.

·        Where school meal programs are in place, we see a reduction in child marriages, pregnancies fall, and opportunities for girls go up.


·       Ending child hunger is a critical first step toward peace, education, and learning.

About The Speaker

David M. Beasley

Executive Director
World Food Programme

As Executive Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley continues his life’s work bridging political, religious and ethnic boundaries to champion economic development and education. At WFP, Mr. Beasley is putting to use four decades of leadership and communications skills to mobilise more financial support and public awareness for the global fight against hunger. These efforts were recognised this year when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded WFP the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. The fight against hunger is even more critical now, with rates steadily rising because of persistent conflict, the impact of climate change and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Mr Beasley’s leadership, WFP has mobilised the resources required to respond to an ever-expanding caseload of people requiring food assistance. In 2020, the agency aims to reach up to 138 million people. Mr Beasley is also driving greater focus and attention to WFP’s work beyond emergency food assistance, highlighting how longer-term development can help bring peace and stability to troubled regions. Before coming to WFP in April 2017, Mr Beasley spent a decade working with high-profile leaders and on-the-ground programme managers in more than 100 countries, directing projects designed to foster peace, reconciliation and economic progress. He travelled to as many as 30 countries a year, organizing, leading or participating in conferences and missions in Kosovo, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen, among others. His work has allowed him to develop deep relationships with leaders around the world. As Governor of the U.S. state of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999, Mr Beasley guided the state during years of economic transformation, helping to reshape the state’s economy into a healthy, diverse and robust market. The work led to one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, with a dramatic increase in private sector capital investment. Mr Beasley was the first Governor in South Carolina to make a public push for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol dome, a move that earned him the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Mr Beasley received his Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of South Carolina and taught at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He was first elected to public office at the age of 21 as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.


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