Food for Thought
World Food Program and Mosaic Foundation team up for Tenth Anniversary Benefit Dinner
When I think of all the great ways to help in the world, giving children a healthy meal and access to education are among the best. The Mosaic Foundation, a charitable organization founded by the spouses of the Arab ambassadors to the United States, fully supports this goal. On May 9, it will host its 10th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in Washington, D.C., with proceeds going to support school-feeding projects of the World Food Program (WFP).
Our school-feeding formula is simple: food attracts hungry children to attend classes, and an education helps to lift them out of poverty.
As the WFP executive director, I applaud the Mosaic Foundations' efforts to support important causes, like ending child hunger, and thank them for their generosity to WFP.
Hunger and malnutrition are still the number one risks to global health - they kill more people than AIDS, Malaria and tuberculosis combined. Globally, there are 400 million children who go to bed hungry. One hundred million of them do not attend school, and two thirds of those not attending school are girls. Those numbers are staggering.
The goal of WFP school feeding is to bring those children into school and out of hunger. We are already helping 22 million school kids - we want to reach many more.
The World Food Program is the world's largest humanitarian agency and the food lifeline around the world in crises like Darfur and the Indian Ocean tsunami. We feed an average of more than 90 million needy people every year in over 80 countries - more than the populations of California, New York and Texas combined.
When I started in my new post in March, I promised to the more than 850 million men, women and children who are hungry that they will never be forgotten. I will do everything I can, not just to bring them food, but to bring them hope for a better future.
This commitment goes hand-in-hand with the mission of the Mosaic Foundation to improve the lives of women and children through charitable, humanitarian and cultural involvement. The other piece of the Mosaic Foundation's mission is to foster understanding between the United States and the Arab World through humanitarian and charitable work. WFP has strong support from the Arab World and especially from its women.
In October 2005, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein joined WFP as a Goodwill Ambassador - the first Arab and the first woman to take on this role. Her appointment was supported by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Similarly to the Mosaic Foundation, Princess Haya works to address the basic human needs of men, women and children in the Arab world.
She focuses attention on hunger and food security problems facing some Arab countries and on garnering Arab support for WFP through her outreach initiatives.
In recent years, the level of support for WFP from Arab countries has increased dramatically, quadrupling from 2005 to surpass $81 million last year. Saudi Arabia, Dubai, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have all been increasingly consistent donors, supporting our operations not just in the Middle East but also in Asia and Africa.
With the support of the Mosaic Foundation, our Goodwill Ambassador Princess Haya and continued aid from Arab countries, WFP can offer hungry children hope to escape poverty through food and school.
I look forward to a partnership with the women of the Arab world to help fight hunger and show that humanitarian help has no borders. Together we can change the world and make it a better place for all our children.