Des Moines, Iowa, October 16, 2008 - Alston & Bird Special Counsel Bob Dole, along with former U.S. Senator George McGovern, today received the 2008 World Food Prize at a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. The award was presented in conjunction with a two-day Iowa Hunger Summit that focused on “Confronting Crisis: Agriculture and Global Development in the Next Fifty Years.”
The two former Senators — and former U.S. presidential candidates — were lauded for their McGovern-Dole international school-feeding program, established in 2000. Since that time, the program has provided meals to feed more than 22 million children in 41 countries and improved school attendance by an estimated 14 percent overall, and by 17 percent for girls.
The reach and success of the McGovern-Dole program is also responsible for dramatically increased international support for the expansion of school-feeding operations around the world. One significant example: The U.N. World Food Program’s school-feeding operations have nearly doubled since 2001 and, in 2006 alone, it fed more than 20 million children in 74 countries, inspired by the work of Senators Dole and McGovern.
The Senators were also recognized for the bipartisan nature of their program, the continuation of decades of working together across the aisle of the U.S. Senate to alleviate the suffering of the hungry and the impoverished. By the beginning of this century, the national school lunch program the pair fostered was providing meals to approximately 30 million children.
In the late 1990s, Senators Dole and McGovern began expanding the scope of their initiative, dedicating themselves to creating a program that would provide meals at school to poor children beyond U.S. borders — throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. With the assistance of nonprofit organizations, as well as both the Clinton and Bush administrations, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (as it is now known), has blossomed and grown, positively affecting the lives of millions and millions of young people. In a statement released by the World Food Prize Foundation to coincide with the award, the foundation asserted that the benefits of school-feeding programs include “improved cognition and better all around academic performance; increases in local employment and parental involvement in school activities; and participation by local governments in supporting school-feeding efforts.”
Senator Dole, upon receiving the World Food Prize, said, “The award is important because of what has been accomplished so far and brings attention to the challenges we still face globally in ensuring that children have at least one meal a day, particularly young girls who are most vulnerable.
Obviously I’m deeply honored to receive the World Food Prize, because Senator McGovern and I are the first political figures to be awarded the prize, and because we join so many of our friends and heroes around the world who have worked to feed and save millions from starvation. It is estimated that 25,000 persons die each day of starvation, 18,000 of those children. This is unacceptable and unconscionable.
We hope the day will come when this problem will have been eradicated.”
The World Food Prize was conceived by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since 1986, The World Food Prize has honored individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world.
Senator Dole serves as special counsel for Alston & Bird’s Legislative and Public Policy Group, an esteemed collection of experts in the field which features two former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders (Senator Dole, as well as Senator Tom Daschle). The group also includes numerous other former government officials with distinguished records of service at the White House, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Office of Thrift Supervision and Central Intelligence Agency. The group also benefits from the counsel of attorneys who were once senior staff for senators and representatives, as well as key congressional committees. Alston & Bird’s Legislative & Public Policy attorneys provide a full range of services to help our clients participate in and shape public policy debates before, rather than after, decisions are made, as well as to provide guidance in how to respond to decisions once they are made. Our clients benefit from our substantive knowledge and the wide range of relationships we have developed with government and agency officials, members of Congress and their staff, think tanks and institutes, academics and the media that cover the policy makers.
The full press release can be downloaded here.