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George McGovern Addresses CWS Conference

George McGovern with John McCulloughMarch 14, 2002, DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - George McGovern, United Nations Ambassador to the Hungry and former Senator from South Dakota, shared his lifelong concern for ending hunger worldwide with Church World Service staff, meeting here March 12-17.

"I hope someday we will be able to proclaim that we have banished hunger in the United States, and that we’ve been able to bring nutrition and health to the whole world," said McGovern (pictured with CWS Executive Director, the Rev. John L. McCullough, right), in his keynote address. Expressing his high regard for CWS work against hunger in the United States and around the world, McGovern promoted a campaign to end hunger in the world by 2030.

McGovern is the author of the recent best-selling book, "The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger in Our Time," in which he advances a five-point plan for achieving this monumental goal. Among the steps he advocates are:

A universal school lunch program, led by the United States within the United Nations.

A supplemental nutrition program for low-income women, infants and children worldwide, similar to WIC.

U.N.-established food reserves around the globe.

Improved farm production, food processing, and food distribution in developing countries.

High-yielding, scientific agriculture, including the controversial genetically modified crops.

Church World Service is a global humanitarian ministry of the 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member communions of the National Council of Churches. CWS carries out and support emergency response, development and refugee assistance work in more than 80 countries, including the United States.

McGovern, who served by appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization under the Clinton Administration, left that post last October 1 and was subsequently appointed by the United Nations as its international emissary to the hungry around the world.

A war hero during World War II, McGovern represented South Dakota in the U.S. Senate for 22 years. President John F. Kennedy appointed him as the nation's first Food for Peace Director.

In his address here, McGovern questioned the Bush Administration’s proposed $48 billion increase in military spending and suggested "we would be better off" investing half of it in nutrition, health, education and the environment around the world.

He said that "as one who flew 35 bombing missions in World War II," he does not dispute that bombing is sometimes necessary. "(But) we aren’t going to end terrorism simply by use of strategic bombers," McGovern said.

Ambassador McGovern was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on August 9, 2000. On February 6, 2002, he and former Senator Robert Dole were honored by the World Food Program of the United Nations, for their lifetime commitments to the hungry. McGovern and Dole played key roles in the development of the school lunch program in the United States in the 1970s and have co-authored bipartisan support for an international version of that program.

His keynote address to Church World Service staff anticipated the organization's plans for a five-year Campaign to End Child Malnutrition in Africa, an effort that will be launched in 2003.


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