A Lutheran pastor, the Rev David Beckmann, who once worked for the World Bank, is one of the winners of the 2010 World Food Prize, which is often seen as the Nobel Prize on issues related to food security, hunger and farming - writes Chris Herlinger.
Beckmann, an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and head of the Washington-based advocacy group Bread for the World, shares the 2010 award with Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, an Arkansas-based charity also dedicated to alleviating global hunger.
The two organisations were lauded for, "the critical efforts of NGOs in mobilising and empowering everyday citizens to end hunger in communities around the world".
The laureates were honoured for their, "landmark achievements in building two of the world's foremost grassroots organisations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the world".
Both Bread for the World and Heifer International have strong ties with US church denominations and other faith groups. The World Food Prize was founded by the late Norman Borlaug, a noted US agronomist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who himself was a Lutheran.
Beckmann is the first ordained minister to win the honour. He has been president of US-based Bread for the World since 1991, and trained as an economist, in which capacity he worked with the World Bank.
Beckmann said the award to him "recognises all that Bread for the World members and churches across the country have done to get our government to help end hunger in our country and around the world".
He added, "US funding for poverty-focused development assistance has tripled over the last decade; nutrition programmes for hungry people in this country have more than doubled. This would not have happened without the advocacy of members and local congregations of Bread for the World."
In her response to news of the prize, Luck said that while the award is, "a personal recognition, it would not have been possible without the efforts of the men and women who have shepherded Heifer International for more than 65 years, and the millions of families who have been helped," through the agency's programmes.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the names of the winners on 16 June in Washington. Beckmann and Luck will receive their awards in Des Moines, Iowa, on 14 October 2010.
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]