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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 25, 2011) – Jo Luck, President of Heifer International, was appointed recently by President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Agency for International Development's Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. The board advises USAID administrators on agricultural development priorities and issues as they relate to famine and hunger.
"I believe that food security is a critical aspect of global humanitarian assistance and sustainable development," said Jo Luck, who in October 2010 was celebrated as a co-laureate of the prestigious World Food Prize. "This appointment will provide me with an excellent opportunity to pursue my deeply felt convictions and passion for the smallholder farmer, the empowerment of women and a greater multi-lateral private and public dialogue regarding these issues.
"Ensuring there will be sufficient accessible food and potable water for 9 billion people in 2050 will require individuals from all sectors rallying together – and I am proud to be a part of this collaborative discussion."
From 1992 to January 2010, Jo Luck served as the development organization's president and chief executive officer, where she helped grow a $7-million budget to more than $130 million, and helped expand programs and projects into numerous countries worldwide. She also helped develop Heifer's 12 Cornerstones, which guide the organization's work with an emphasis on the pivotal roles of women and girls in agriculture.
"My 20-plus years with Heifer International and its unique, effective approach to community development will inform my contributions to the conversation in invaluable ways," said Jo Luck. "I have seen first-hand how enabling self-sufficiency for poverty-stricken families can lead to improved health, better education, inspired entrepreneurial spirit, community unity, positive leadership and personal dignity. Not only is this a moral imperative for me, but I stand firm that these are prerequisites for peace and are essential to cultivating a more stable world."
The BIFAD was created in 1975 and comprises seven members, at least four of whom must be from universities in the United States. BIFAD normally meets at least three times a year.
Heifer's mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call (501) 907-2952.