David Beasley has been the executive director of the World Food Programme since 2017, and received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the WFP. Prior to leading the World Food Programme, he spent a decade working with leaders in more than 100 countries to foster peace, reconciliation and economic progress. While serving as governor of South Carolina from 1995-1999, he pushed for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol dome, earning him the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Beasley attended Clemson University and the University of South Carolina where he received his J.D. degree. He has also taught at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
Together Ukraine and Russia produce 30 percent of the world’s supply of wheat and 20 percent of the world’s supply of corn/maize. When those resources get tied up by conflict, the most vulnerable around the world are impacted.
In Today’s Conversation podcast, David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, details the complex nature of feeding the hungry around the world in the midst of conflict. Host Walter Kim and Executive Director David Beasley also discuss:
- How David’s Christian faith motivates his work for the “least of these”;
- The differences in addressing chronic vs. shock hunger;
- What dilemmas he and his team face when resources are limited; and
- Why it’s important for Christians to lead in conflict resolution.
Read a Portion of the Transcript
Walter: What role do Christian leaders, people of faith, followers of Jesus in particular, have in this area of peacemaking and humanitarian efforts?
David: If believers aren’t out there being salt and light… Wow, you know, you have an obligation. Jesus was very clear. He said, “Love your neighbors as yourself.” It wasn’t a suggestion. If you’re not out there loving your neighbor, then you need to really reexamine your faith. It’s really quite simple.
I’d like to clearly make it simple, as much as I can… I’m not a theologian. I’m just an old country boy from South Carolina, trying to figure it out day by day, allowing that spirit of “loving your neighbor as yourself.” What does that mean every moment? When I read the Scripture, I say, “How does that verse, how does that story, help me understand better how to love my neighbor as myself?” “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” We are called to be peacemakers. That is what we should be doing.
At the World Food Programme, we received the Noble Peace Prize, because we are using food as a weapon of peace. Jesus used food, and you look through Scripture over and over. In fact when you look in Acts, the apostles were going house to house, breaking bread, having fellowship, praying together around the apostles’ teaching about Jesus. And his teaching is “love your neighbor as yourself” — follow me and I’m going to show you how to achieve that ultimate goal of love. And so, that’s what people of faith, and particularly, those who claim to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth, should truly be examining every day, “Am I truly loving my neighbor as I should?”
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- Check out a list of NAE members and friends that are active in supporting Ukrainians in need and see how you can help.
Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.