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David Beckmann
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David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry people. He has been president of Bread for the World for 15 years, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcoming hunger and poverty. Before that, he served at the World Bank for 15 years, overseeing large projects and driving innovations to make the Bank more effective in reducing poverty.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread for the World members write personal letters and emails and hold meetings with their members of Congress. Working through churches, campuses, and other organizations, Bread members engage more people in advocacy. It is one of the largest organizations in the world dedicated to building the political will to end hunger.

Bread for the World has an impressive record of achievement under Beckmann's leadership. Bread for the World led the U.S. legislative coalition of the Jubilee movement to reduce the debts of low-income countries. Since 2000, the organization has helped to double U.S. funding for poverty-focused development assistance. Bread for the World has also helped to win increases in nutrition assistance for food-insecure people in the United States since the late 1990s—to a total that now exceeds $50 billion a year.

Beckmann is also president of Bread for the World Institute, which provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse U.S. institutions—Muslim and Jewish groups, corporations, unions and universities—in building political will to end hunger. When the U.N. agencies in Rome launched the International Alliance Against Hunger, they used the U.S. Alliance as one model for national alliances against hunger around the world. Beckmann also proposed what has become the More and Better Campaign, an international coalition of NGOs that work for more and better funding for agriculture, rural development and nutrition. In 2005, Beckmann delivered the prestigious McDougal Lecture at the biannual meeting of the FAO Conference.

Beckmann earned degrees from Yale, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics, and five universities have awarded him honorary doctorates. He is a clergyman as well as an economist. He has written many books and articles, including Transforming the Politics of Hunger and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God’s World. Beckmann speaks Spanish. He has lived in Bangladesh and Ghana, overseen projects in Bolivia and Ecuador, and visited more than 70 countries.

Entries by David Beckmann

What Scripture Tells Us About the Minimum Wage

(19) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 9:28 AM

"You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer ... but you must pay him his wages on the same day ... for he is needy and urgently depends on it ..." -- Deuteronomy 24:14-15 (JPS translation)

As leaders and partners in a large, diverse community of religious organizations working...

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Wheat for the World: Fulfilling the Legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 10:46 AM

This Tuesday was an important day in the agriculture and anti-hunger communities. Not only was it National Agriculture Day, but it would have been Dr. Norman Borlaug's 100th birthday. Celebrations took place around the world in his honor, including the installation of a statue in his likeness in the U.S....

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The New Debate About Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 4:08 PM

This week, the United States marked 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared War on Poverty. Many politicians and media are asking whether past efforts to reduce poverty have been successful. Even more importantly, some leaders in both parties are proposing fresh strategies to tackle poverty in America.

Our...

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A Wave of Prayer to End Hunger, Protect SNAP

(48) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 5:43 PM

We can end hunger, globally and at home. This is not a sentimental Christmas wish; it is a reality. We have the tools, expertise, and resources to ensure that within two decades every person will have enough to eat. What is needed is the political will.

That is why...

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'Like the Bite of Crabs'

(2) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 2:13 PM

"...Hunger feels like pincers,
like the bite of crabs;
it burns, burns, and has no fire.
Hunger is a cold fire.
Let us sit down soon to eat
with all those who haven't eaten;
let us spread great tablecloths,
...

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Congress: Restore the Circle of Protection and Your Reputations

(3) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 1:07 PM

As we enter into a new season of debate over the budget, I am distressed by the cynicism about government that has spread through the American people. Recent polls indicate that the approval rate for Congress has fallen to 10 percent, the lowest ever. Much of this comes from seemingly...

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Changing the Future in 1,000 Days

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 6:11 PM

Even as acrimony and discord roil the U.S. government and media, we can report good news that should make all Americans proud and renew their energy and hope.

Quietly, steadily, we are building critical mass in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, especially as it affects the youngest and most...

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Reforming Food Aid to Improve Maternal and Child Nutrition

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 2:50 PM

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama proposed a budget for fiscal year 2014 that would reduce federal deficits while largely protecting programs that support hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world. The proposal is particularly encouraging because it includes important reforms to our international food...

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Congress Must Address Real Roots of Immigration

(19) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 6:04 PM

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me."

This passage from the Gospel of Matthew inviting us to welcome strangers into our midst could not be more salient than it is now, as...

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President Obama, Set a Goal to End Hunger

(19) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 11:25 AM

The start of President Obama's second term and the convening of a new Congress offer the White House an important opportunity to act boldly to end hunger at home and abroad. Thousands of people of faith are praying that the president will use this new beginning to work with Congress...

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The Cost of Malnutrition

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Malnutrition takes the lives of 300 children every hour. It also robs people of their earning potential and stands in the way of a country's economic development. Malnutrition in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child's second birthday carries lifelong consequences, affecting a child's growth and development, ability to...

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Foreign Aid: Better Evaluation, More Transparency

(26) Comments | Posted October 9, 2012 | 7:17 PM

In the years since 9/11, America's foreign assistance program has played an increasingly important role in our foreign and national security policies. Through our aid and development efforts, we have saved lives, lifted people out of poverty, accelerated economic growth in poor countries and helped stabilize fragile societies.

Besides demonstrating...

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Caring for Poor People: Should the Church Do It Alone?

(169) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 11:31 AM

When I open my Bible, it isn't hard to find a verse that underscores our responsibility as Christians to care for the least among us. Proverbs 19:17 tells us, "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed." Unfortunately, some members...

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Finding Our Political Will to End Hunger

(4) Comments | Posted February 15, 2012 | 4:38 PM

In recent weeks, President Barack Obama, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich all talked about poverty--which was very unusual, as political leaders of both parties generally avoid talking about poor people.

At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama explained how his Christian faith inspires...

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Churches Form Circle of Protection Around Hungry People

(12) Comments | Posted January 18, 2012 | 1:50 PM

We got through 2011 without major cuts in national programs focused on hungry and poor people. Powerful political forces made a major push to cut these programs in the name of deficit reduction, but church leaders and faith groups rallied to form a circle of protection around hungry and poor...

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Fast, Pray and Protect Hungry People

(29) Comments | Posted March 25, 2011 | 8:40 AM

My friend Tony Hall told me several weeks ago that he felt called to a period of fasting in response to the budget debate that now dominates Congress. I have decided to join Tony (a former member of Congress who now heads the Alliance to End Hunger) in a one-week,...

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What Real Foreign Aid Reform Means

(5) Comments | Posted August 6, 2010 | 2:41 PM

U.S. foreign assistance has helped drive some of the greatest human progress in the last 50 years. The impact of America's generosity and leadership can be measured in millions of lives saved and transformed. For example, the Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe's economy after World War II, and the Green Revolution...

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Poverty in America: A Relative Term

(1) Comments | Posted July 8, 2009 | 1:45 PM

Recently, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) reintroduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Measuring American Poverty Act (H.R. 2909), that would update the way poverty is measured in the United States. The proposed new way of gauging poverty levels takes into account household costs such as housing, childcare,...

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Local Purchase Means Better Foreign Aid

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2009 | 5:30 PM

Officials from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently confirmed what many development experts already know: local and regional procurement of food aid provides opportunities to enhance U.S. foreign assistance efforts. Testifying before Congress recently, they warned, however, that challenges remain on how to efficiently and reliably distribute food aid...

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A Balanced Approach to U.S. Foreign Aid Reform

(3) Comments | Posted June 5, 2009 | 3:35 PM

After reading several reader responses to a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal by former Secretaries of State Albright and Powell, "Don't Forget About Foreign Aid" at href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124148276774185481.html">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124148276774185481.html I noticed a recurring theme. American taxpayers are concerned that their contributions to foreign aid may not always reach...

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