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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks at a Ceremony for the Presentation of the End Hunger Awards and the Signing of the World Food Day Proclamation


Welcome to everybody, and I do want to salute the Members of Congress who are here from the House Select Committee -- the Select Committee on Hunger: Bill Emerson, one of today's award winners; Tony Hall and Ben Gilman; and then, of course, our friend Senator Lugar of Indiana. Clayton -- welcome, Secretary, and Mark, our Acting Administrator of AID. Let me welcome all of you to the White House.

It's a very special privilege to welcome Dr. Kurien, the 1989 recipient of the World Food Prize. And he's the father of India's White Revolution, that has brought hygienic milk to the homes of 170 million people. And tomorrow evening, Dr. Kurien will be honored at the Smithsonian for his lifelong dedication to the poor and hungry of India. I want to congratulate this great humanitarian whose work has changed the lives and the livelihoods of so many millions of people.

And of course, let me say again how honored I am to meet with the End of Hunger Award winners -- 14, if you will, of the Thousand Points of Light who are bringing hope to the hungry. And you've all heard me say before that from now on in America, any definition of a successful life must include service to others. And by that standard, the people I've just met with in the Oval Office are the kind of success stories who inspire us all. Whether you're a Congressman like my friend Bill Emerson or a produce merchant like Mickey Weiss, who decides one day it's time to feed the hungry with the perfectly edible food that we waste, what you've done proves that each of us can make a difference right in our own neighborhood or on the other side of the world as well.

And I know this is a proud moment for all of you, but I'd like to single out the five award winners who are not here: Ambassador Alan Woods, Administrator of AID, who cared so deeply, working until the very end of his life to help the world's hungry; of course our friend Congressman Mickey Leland -- people here in Washington and people back in Mickey's hometown, and mine, of Houston, and the starving children of Ethiopia will never forget this man and his great love and compassion; and of course Tom and Roberta Worrick and Gladys Gilbert, the dedicated AID officials who lost their lives on the way to Ethiopia's refugee camps with Mickey Leland. Our hearts go out to the families of these fine men and women.

The End Hunger Awards underscore a simple fact about America: We are a compassionate people, a nation of neighbors and neighborhoods; and America will never sleep well so long as a single man, woman, or child goes to sleep hungry or homeless, haunted or hurting. Hunger cuts across all nations and peoples. It's black, it's white, it's brown, and certainly it's cruel. And every time you feed a family -- even a single man, woman, or child -- along with nourishment you give them dignity and hope.

So, I salute the winners of the End Hunger Awards. And with that salute goes the gratitude of a nation to each of you for answering the call to provide this most basic of needs. Because of you, we are one step closer to a world without hunger.

And we all realize that winning the battle against hunger means improving the production and distribution of food. In recognition of that fact, I will now sign this proclamation declaring today World Food Day.

And before I sign the proclamation, let me again congratulate the winners and thank you for joining me here this morning. Bless you all, and keep up the great work.

Note: The President spoke at 10:15 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Secretary of Agriculture Clayton K. Yeutter and Mark L. Edelman, Acting Administrator of the Agency for International Development. The proclamation is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.

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