WASHINGTON, DC -- WFP Ambassador Against Hunger Christina Aguilera and Yum! Brands CEO David Novak were honoured with the prestigious WFPUSA George McGovern Leadership Award, given annually to leaders for their vision and role in taking on the world’s greatest solvable problem: hunger.
Presiding over the ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was proud of how far the international community has come in recent years in addressing hunger and was glad to have people like Aguilera and Novak on her team.
“Everyone should stand up and use their voice like WFP Ambassador Christina Aguilera,” Clinton said.
Clinton recognized Aguilera for her work introducing the story of hunger to a new generation and Novak for his innovation in integrating the goal of ending hunger into the Yum! business model.
“I congratulate David Novak for matching business success with compassion and values to solve hunger,” Clinton said.
The event featured the presentation of the award to Aguilera and Novak, a special tribute to Secretary Clinton’s legacy of leadership in advancing food security and a panel discussion with Aguilera, Novak and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Raj Shah on innovations in the fight against hunger.
In recounting her trips to see WFP operations in Guatemala and Haiti, Aguilera said she sees it as her responsibility to spread awareness about hunger and the importance of child nutrition to help give women and children a voice. Through her travels, Aguilera saw women in WFP-supported programmes become empowered to start their own farms and businesses and heard children who receive a daily WFP meal at school tell their dreams of one day becoming doctors.
“I know what it means to be given an opportunity,” Aguilera said. “And it all begins with nutrition.”
Novak also emphasized that solving hunger requires all of us to take action.
“If there’s one thing we ought to figure out in this world, it’s how to ensure everyone has a meal to eat every day,” Novak said, also noting the positive impact corporate social responsibility has on business. "Nothing has engendered more passion amongst our employees like our annual World Hunger Relief Campaign. People want to work at a company that makes a difference and is not just focused on profits.”
The ceremony coincided with the launch of Yum!’s 5th Annual World Hunger Relief Campaign
, which raises awareness and funds for WFP’s school meals programmes
. With Aguilera as its Global Spokesperson, the campaign galvanizes incredible awareness around the globe about hunger and inspires millions to get involved. Since 2007, the campaign has raised more than US$115 million for WFP and other agencies tackling hunger. Novak and Aguilera’s global efforts and leadership have truly provided a voice for the hungry poor: it is the world’s largest consumer outreach campaign focusing on hunger.