About the Author: Lillian deValcourt-Ayala serves as a Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, Italy.
We were not as fast as Carl Lewis in the Olympics nor did our team place first in 4th Run for Food this weekend, but runners from our three U.S. embassies in Rome got involved and showed our commitment. That’s the difference we all can make in the real life race against hunger.
The UN’s largest technical agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), commemorated World Food Day on October 16 to refocus world attention on the need to achieve food security, even in times of crisis. This year five new FAO Goodwill Ambassadors including Carl Lewis joined the effort, lending their star power to bring an end to wide-spread suffering.
At this time of year FAO honors one of America’s great anti-hunger champions, George McGovern, through a lecture series established in his name. Our U.S. Mission has the honor to organize the participation of distinguished McGovern lectors like NYU’s Dr. Marion Nestle who spoke this year on the future of food.
What about the future of food? In the United States, there is a growing awareness about the importance of knowing our farmers, knowing our food, and improving our diets – not only for ourselves as individuals and for our families and communities, but also for our planet and in support of the world’s hungry. As Ertharin Cousin, U.S. Ambassador the UN Agencies in Rome, told an international audience gathered for the McGovern lecture, “In times of crisis we have a window of opportunity to re-examine not only our ways of doing business, and the structure of our institutions and our food systems, but also our personal relationship with food.”
So as our American team rounded Circus Maximus, we showed the flag of our country and with feet pounding the pavement acknowledged that our future depends on hunger awareness and personal action.