Tag Archives: United Nations

Celebrate World Food Day and Help End World Hunger

Charles W. Elliott

Each October 16 is World Food Day, a celebration of the founding of the lead international agency for global efforts to combat hunger: the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). World Food Day has been observed every year since 1979, in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of global poverty and hunger. It serves as a wonderful example of international cooperation and community-building to help the poor, exemplifying our common humanity and basic goodness.

For World Food Day 2012, Buddhist Global Relief joins the FAO and our partner, Oxfam America, to both celebrate FAO’s work and to raise awareness of how much more work must be done to ensure a world in which everyone has enough food. We still confront the unacceptable: one billion people continue to suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition in a time of unprecedented plenty.

The FAO’s tireless work to end hunger is well worth an annual celebration. It has been a central driving force for worldwide fulfillment of the human right to food. It responds to soaring food prices by helping small scale farmers raise their output and providing direct aid. It supports projects in more than 100 countries to enhance food security, providing early warning and emergency response to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on food security. Its Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (AAHM) creates global connections between local, regional, national and international institutions which share a common commitment to the rapid eradication of hunger and malnutrition. FAO “Goodwill Ambassadors” such as Jeremy Irons and Céline Dion attract public and media attention to the problem of hunger. Its online campaign against hunger, www.EndingHunger.org, is a vital networking campaign to build the movement through social networks, presenting world governments with more than three million signatures on a global petition to end hunger.

World Food Day is a wonderful opportunity to share your concern for the world’s poor and hungry with your family, friends and community. You can “walk the talk” and join Buddhist Global Relief’s Walks to Feed the Hungry by walking with us, or simply making a walk donation through our First Giving page.

As Oxfam America suggests, you can host a simple World Food Day dinner on October 16th that “fosters a conversation about where your food comes from, who cultivates it, and how you can take personal actions that will make the food system more just and sustainable.” You can get discussion guides and free materials from Oxfam at: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/campaigns/food-justice/world-food-day. You can organize a “food and fund drive” for local food banks and pantries. In the United States, if you don’t know where your nearest food bank is located, you can find one in the nationwide list at: http://www.feedingamerica.org/Home/foodbank-results.aspx. Food banks help feed tens of millions of people in the United States. They need your support and food donations.

Taking action can be as simple as picking up the phone. Call your political leaders and representatives and ask them: what specific, concrete steps are they taking to end hunger? Each one of us can find our own best way to help on World Food Day.  For more information, visit Buddhist Global Relief’s World Food Day page at http://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org/active/WorldFoodDay.html

My Keynote Address at UN Vesak Celebration

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

I have been extremely busy reviewing the proofs of my translation of the Anguttara Nikaya, which Wisdom Publications intends to publish in the fall. Wisdom is offering a very generous discount of 40% on pre-publication orders placed before August 15th. So, if you are interested, don’t delay!

Because I’m now committed to reading through almost 2,000 pages of proofs, and then (after proofing) making up indexes for the book, I haven’t been able to devote time to this blog. But on May 7th, in the window between first and second proofs, I gave the keynote address at the United Nations Celebration of Vesak, held at the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters in New York. This was the second time that I gave the keynote at this function. The first was in the year 2000, the first time the UN commemorated Vesak. This time the talk was shorter–just ten minutes–since there were some fourteen delegations each allotted six minutes. It was particularly interesting seeing the three-minute videos each delegation had prepared about Buddhism or Buddhist remains in their country.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations has put up the text of my talk here. The crowding of words in this online version was not in my original document, but must have resulted from the image processing of a printout. However, the document is still readable. The texts of several other talks are available on the website.

Once my proofing and indexing of the Anguttara Nikaya is finished, I will have more time to devote to this blog. There are a number of issues concerning social justice, food justice, food sovereignty, and Buddhist engagement that I intend to explore. Meanwhile Charles Elliott, a BGR board member and environmental attorney, will be blogging.