Anti-Hunger Leaders to be Honored at 2017 Awards Ceremony


Photo of the Library of Congress, Madison Building, from the Northeast Corner (photo by Carol Highsmith)

On June 13th, leaders and supporters of the fight against hunger will gather together for the 11th Annual Hunger Leadership Awards, hosted by the Congressional Hunger Center (CHC). The Awards Ceremony serves as an opportunity to honor leaders in the fight against hunger in the United States and worldwide, and for attendees to meet others from the government, corporate, and non-profit sectors who also seek a hunger-free world. Proceeds from the ceremony support the Emerson and Leland Hunger Fellows programs, and the work of the Fellows to end hunger across the country and around the world.

This year we will honor two distinguished Members of Congress for their leadership in the fight against hunger:

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Representative Chris Smith has been a steady champion in Congress for people facing hunger and undernutrition across the world. Among the 42 laws has authored since first coming to Congress are the Global Food Security Act of 2014 and the Global Food Security Act of 2016, which was passed into law in July 2016. He has also cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation that target global hunger. Over the 2017 Memorial Day recess, Rep. Smith led a Congressional Delegation to famine-hit South Sudan and Uganda to evaluate how best to help. In the 115th Congress, Mr. Smith serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is Chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)Representative Bobby Scott currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, a committee he has served on since his arrival to Congress in 1993. From the beginning of his tenure in Congress, Congressman Scott has led efforts to pass comprehensive juvenile justice reform and crime prevention legislation. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Congressman Scott sponsored the All Healthy Children Act, which sought to ensure that millions of uninsured children in the United States have access to a comprehensive set of health care services. He has been a strong advocate for children’s nutrition programs as Ranking Member of the committee of jurisdiction for WIC and the national school lunch program. He has spoken many times, including on the House floor, to highlight the critical links among nutrition, health and education and the need for strong nutrition programs to ensure healthy kids and successful students.

Each year we recognize two exceptional alumni of the Emerson and Leland Hunger Fellows programs with the Congressional Hunger Center Alumni Leadership Award. Honorees are selected for their outstanding leadership in their discipline, significant contributions to the field of hunger and poverty eradication, and continued connection to the Congressional Hunger Center and its mission. This year’s honorees are Shana McDavis Conway (Emerson alumna) and Emily Wei (Leland alumna)

Shana McDavis ConwayShana McDavis Conway (10th Class of Emerson Fellows, ’03-’04) recently joined the University of California, Davis as the Program Manager for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, working to create a sustainable food system and ensure everyone has access to healthy food. Shana has over 16 years of experience with national and local hunger and food justice organizations. As a Fellow, Shana designed GROW Hartford, a youth urban farming program that has now expanded to several sites. In D.C., she conducted agriculture, media, and trade policy research for the National Family Farm Coalition and the Community Food Security Coalition. In Sacramento, Shana ran summer meal and Food Stamp outreach campaigns for the Sacramento Hunger Coalition and organized community gardens. Before joining the Congressional Hunger Center, she advocated for expanded access to child nutrition programs at D.C. Hunger Solutions, a project of the Food Research and Action Center.

Emily WeiEmily Wei (5th Class of Leland Fellows, ’09-’11) currently works as the Deputy Director for Policy Development at Catholic Relief Services. In this role, she develops policy positions for CRS’s areas of focus: food security and hunger, emergency assistance, health, and peacebuilding, among others. As a Fellow in the Leland Program, Emily first worked with Care International in Malawi, conducting policy research linking international assistance to access to national social services in Malawi. Emily’s domestic policy placement was with Mercy Corps, where she performed policy research on the efficacy of the local and regional procurement of food assistance in Mercy Corps programs around the world. Emily joined Catholic Relief Services as a policy analyst for food security after her fellowship, working on promoting local and regional procurement programs as well as building evidence for making food assistance more efficient and effective. Earlier in her career, Emily served as an educator and co-manager for programs in a rural village with the Ghana Health and Education Initiative.

The Awards Ceremony, and the work of the Congressional Hunger Center, would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors, including General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Monsanto, PepsiCo, Tyson Foods, Walmart, Bread for the World, Feeding America, the Food Research and Action Center, and Share Our Strength. Individual sponsors of the ceremony also provide invaluable support for CHC’s work to develop new leaders equipped with the tools and experience to effectively combat hunger in their communities and around the world. Interested in becoming an individual sponsor of this year’s Awards Ceremony? Learn more here!

The Hunger Leadership Awards highlight the important contributions of leaders, organizations, and individuals who, when working together, can successfully eliminate hunger in the United States and around the world. The need for leadership is as urgent as it has ever been. More than 790 million people around the world struggle with chronic hunger, with famine affecting or threatening four separate countries this year; here in the United States, 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children lived in food insecure households in 2015. As we celebrate these individuals for their achievements and continued dedication to this work, the mission to end hunger is up to all of us, who have the ability to make a difference when we work together with a common cause.

(Library of Congress photo: Carol M Highsmith)

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