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Hendrix alumna wins World Food Prize

Conway, Ark. (June 18, 2010) -- Hendrix College alumna Jo Luck '63 has received the 2010 World Food Prize, the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

Luck, the CEO of Heifer International from 1992 until earlier this year, shared the award with David Beckmann, the head of Bread for the World since 1991. An award ceremony in Washington D.C. honoring Luck and Beckmann included Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, made the announcement of this year’s Laureates.

"David Beckmann and Jo Luck are receiving the World Food Prize for their landmark achievements in building Bread for the World and Heifer International into two of the world’s foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the globe," Quinn said.

Luck has spearheaded the effort to build Heifer International into one of the premier hunger-fighting organizations anywhere in the world, bringing food- and income-producing animals to extremely poor families, guiding them to self-reliance, and providing opportunity for improved livelihoods through animal husbandry, technical training, and community development.

Since becoming CEO, Jo Luck greatly expanded the scope and impact of Heifer’s activities worldwide. Through her leadership, Heifer educates the world’s resource-poor and hungry, combating hunger by teaching poor communities how to become self-sustaining. She created innovative public education initiatives linking grassroots donors in rich countries to recipients in developing countries. As a result, the number of Heifer supporters grew from 20,000 in 1992 to more than 500,000 in 2009. Heifer’s outreach activities have enabled 12 million families, including 1.5 million families in 2009 alone, to put nutritious food on their own tables and also contribute to feeding others through Heifer’s practice of "Passing on the Gift," which asks every recipient family to give a female offspring of their animal to another family in need.

"I commend the World Food Prize [Laureates David Beckmann and Jo Luck], NGO leaders and passionate advocates of the principles that Dr. Borlaug stood for," said Secretary Clinton.

"World Food Prize founder Dr. Norman Borlaug believed we had the collective duty and knowledge to eradicate hunger worldwide," said Sec. Vilsack. "David Beckmann and Jo Luck’s efforts to bring hundreds of thousands of global citizens into the battle against hunger and poverty domestically and around the globe are shining examples of his vision in action."

The 2010 World Food Prize will be formally presented to Luck and Beckmann at the 2010 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on Oct. 14. The ceremony will occur as part of the World Food Prize’s 2010 Borlaug Dialogue, themed "Take it to the Farmer: Reaching the World’s Smallholders."