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Graziano da Silva awarded by A Life for Faith Foundation for dedication to ending hunger

Hunger fight needs commitment and action from all, FAO Director-General says

FAO Director-General with Mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino at Rome's Town Hall.

12 June 2014 Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva was honored for his achievements and outstanding commitment in the fight against hunger, by the Italian "A Life for Faith Foundation".

The ‘A Life for Faith’ award, now in its second edition, honors the memory of Italian journalist Giuseppe De Carli, renowned Chief Editor of Vatican coverage by national broadcaster RAI. The annual award goes to personalities who have dedicated their life and work to “the pursuit of common good, dialogue among peoples and the centrality of the human being.” 

"I am convinced that this award, which we give today to the Director-General of FAO, Graziano da Silva, honors the spirit and the intelligence of Giuseppe de Carli, who dedicated his entire life to charity,” said Giuseppe Benelli, President of the Foundation.

“In our globalized world, we can only have food security if others are food secure as well,” Graziano da Silva said, in accepting the award from the city’s Councilwoman for the Environment, Estella Marino.

“Hunger or food-related issues are among the main causes of conflict,” Graziano da Silva said. “And if a person is unable to ensure food security at home, he or she is often driven elsewhere.”

Last year, A Life for Faith Foundation awarded the humanitarian efforts of the Lampedusa community and Mayor Giusy Nicolini. In a nod to their efforts, the FAO Director-General announced his intention to donate the 20 000 euros prize to support the efforts by the Lampedusa community.

Graziano da Silva has worked on food security, rural development, and agriculture issues for over 35 years, most notably as the architect of Brazil’s Zero Hunger programme, which contributed to reducing the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in the country from around 11 percent to 3.5 percent in ten years. Over the same period, undernourishment rates fell from 15 percent to less than 7 percent.

As FAO Director-General since 2012, he has begun an ambitious reform process which sees the Organization even more focused on the goal of eradicating hunger and promoting sustainable development, engaging governments and non-state actors in this work.

 “I would like to share this award with all of those in Brazil, FAO, and throughout the world who are part of the efforts to fight hunger,” da Silva said at the ceremony.

In his remarks, Graziano da Silva stressed two central elements in the fight against hunger: clear political commitment and social participation.

 “The war against hunger is the war that we should fight. Together. This is what motivated my work in Brazil. This is what brought me to FAO. And this is what brings me here today,” he said.

Graziano da Silva also recalled the recent prayer for peace involving Pope Francis, the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

In the same way that they came together in a prayer for peace, we need to come together to fight hunger. Freedom from hunger is the olive tree that we need to plant to reach the sustainable future we all want,” concluded the FAO Director-General.