World Food Prize Foundation President Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn delivered the keynote address last Saturday at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s World Food Day Observance at the UN Headquarters in New York. 

The theme for 2013 World Food Day was “Sustainable Food Systems for Food and Nutrition Security" and aimed to increase understanding of challenges and potential solutions in the global drive to end hunger. More information is available in the UNFAO’s issues paper.

The UNFAO's Director General, Jose Graziano da Silva, attended Saturday’s event, along with other senior UN officials. Speakers included Amb. Quinn, Mr. Graziano da Silva; Mr. Nicolas Pron, Senior Adviser of the President of the 68th UN General Assembly; Mr. Wu Hongbo, Undersecretary General for Economic and Social Affairs; Amb. Nestor Osorio President of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director World Food Programme (WFP); and Ms. Lakshmi Menon, Associate Vice President International Fund for Agricultural Development (FAD).

Following is an excerpt from Amb. Quinn’s keynote remarks, titled "The Single Greatest Challenge in Human History":

“Five months before he died, President Kennedy addressed the UNFAO-organized World Food Congress, a global conference that attracted huge international press coverage. In his remarks, the President said, ‘We have the ability, we have the means, we have the capacity to eliminate hunger from the face of the earth in our lifetime. We only need the will.’

…Dr. Norman Borlaug said that ‘Food is the moral right of all who are born into the world.’ His very last words were ‘Take it to the farmer.’ 2014 is the year of Family Farming but is also the year in which we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Norman Borlaug’s birth. I believe Dr. Borlaug’s spirit is here with us today, and that he is telling us to inspire that next generation; he is telling us to ‘Take it to the farmer.’ Dr. Borlaug is telling us just what President Kennedy told the UN World Food Congress in 1963: That if we have the will, we can forever eradicate hunger, poverty and malnutrition from the face of the earth.”