Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Friends throughout the world, It is a real pleasure to join today's Rally of Hope. Let me start first by thanking Dr. Moon who co-founded the Universal Peace Federation in an effort to focus attention on the importance of working for peace around the world. Thank you.
The dream of peace throughout the Korean Peninsula is shared by the millions of men, women and children who live there; whichever side of the border that they may be on, and by people all around the world. My father was a Korean War veteran, so I join you in praying that it will come to pass one day and one day soon.
We at the World Food Programme know from our work that where peace exists, fewer children go to bed hungry. But tragically, where there is hunger, peace can often be hard to find. For those of you who are not familiar with our work, the World Food Programme, we are the world's largest humanitarian agency working to end global hunger, and last year alone we reached about 114 million people in over 80 countries with food assistance.
We exist to serve our brothers and sisters in need. In other words, to love our neighbor wherever they may be. Last October we were truly humbled and honored to be awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of our efforts to bring peace and stability to a troubled world.
At the World Food Programme, we have a long history of partnership and cooperation with the peoples of the Korean Peninsula. For many years, we have worked with the governments of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea to ensure that every child, no matter where he or she lives, has healthy nutritious food to eat.
The World Food Programme has been present in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 1995. We provide specialized nutritious foods for mothers, and children under the age of 12 which are distributed to kindergartens, schools, orphanages, and hospitals across the country. The World Food Programme program is in partnership with the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
We still have a very long way to go before every child in every part of the world has enough to eat, but the Republic of Korea’s story gives me hope for the future. The World Food Programme started working in the country way back in 1964, in the aftermath of the Korean War, and for 20 years we supported the Korean people with food assistance, and during this period, the people, the country rebuilt itself from the ground up. In just one generation the Republic of Korea went from a recipient to a donor.
Wow. Today it is the World Food Programme’s 11th largest government supporter. This is an inspirational journey which proves that with commitment and hard work eradicating hunger is achievable. It is a tremendous example of everything we strive for the World Food Programme. I hope this story of success inspires a wider international community to fund expansion of the humanitarian programs which are still urgently needed on the Korean peninsula: programs which provide nutritious foods to children and their mothers, vaccinations against preventable diseases and illnesses, and community defenses against floods and droughts.
Now, the impact of covid-19 pandemic over the past year has made our task even more urgent. But I am optimistic that this unprecedented crisis is also our chance to put aside our differences, to show we are prepared to love our neighbor as ourselves and work as one to create the better and more peaceful world we all want to see. Every single one of us can contribute and help to build a brighter future for the children of Korea and beyond. If we work together in partnership, I truly believe we will one day achieve our dream of a world free from hunger and conflict. I also know for sure that when people come together to pray together, break bread together, miracles begin to happen. So, let us pray together for peace and healing on the Korean peninsula.
God bless you all and thank you.