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Meet the Featured Speakers

Amir Abdullah 
Deputy Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP)
Based in New York, Amir Mahmoud Abdulla oversees the WFP offices of Addis Ababa, Geneva and New York. He is responsible for coordinating WFP’s activities and relationships within the United Nations system, including the many summits and events in 2015 and 2016. His previous roles at the WFO include Chief Operating Officer (COO),Chief Financial Officer (CFO), logistics officer, and a variety of field and headquarter posts. Prior to joining WFP, he was a Branch Manager in Juba and Port Sudan for the shipping and forwarding company Transintra, and Assistant Area Manager for engineering company, Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, in the Sudan. He also taught at the American School and Comboni College in Khartoum.


Joel Berg 
CEO, Hunger Free America
Joel Berg is a nationally recognized leader and media spokesman in the fields of domestic hunger, food security, obesity, poverty, food-related economic development, national service, and volunteerism. He is also the author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America?. His second book, “America We Need to Talk: a Self Help Book for the Nation,” will be published in February 2017. Prior to his work with Hunger Free America, Berg held various positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He is the past winner of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for Superior Service (one of the department’s highest honors) and the Congressional Hunger Center’s Mickey Leland National Hunger Fighter Award. Joel also serves on the board of New York City’s Human Services Council.


Tony Hall
Executive Director Emeritus, Alliance to End Hunger
Three times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Ambassador Tony P. Hall is a leading advocate for hunger relief programs and improving human rights conditions in the world. His previous experience includes U.S. Congressman for Ohio’s Third District, chair of the Congressional Hunger Center, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Hall is a recipient of the United States Committee for UNICEF 1995 Children's Legislative Advocate Award, U.S. AID Presidential End Hunger Award, 1992 Oxfam America Partners Award, Bread for the World Distinguished Service Against Hunger Award, and NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. He received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Asbury College, Antioch College and Eastern College and a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Loyola College in Baltimore.


Danielle Nierenberg 
President, Food Tank
An expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues, Danielle Nierenberg has written extensively on gender and population, the spread of factory farming in the developing world and innovations in sustainable agriculture. She co-founded Food Tank in 2013 as a nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Already, the organization boasts more than 20 major institutional partners as well as advisory board members representing the world’s top leaders in food and agriculture policies and advocacy work. Prior to starting Food Tank, Danielle spent two years traveling to more than 60 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. 


Lisa Marsh Ryerson
President, AARP Foundation
Lisa Marsh Ryerson has served as president of AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity, since 2013. She is an experienced and innovative leader who sets the Foundation’s strategic direction and leads its efforts to create opportunities for older Americans struggling with poverty and the related issues of hunger, unemployment, inadequate housing and social isolation. Ms. Ryerson has received numerous awards and honors for her leadership and service, both at AARP Foundation and in previous positions. She has elevated the Foundation’s visibility through innovative collaborations with other organizations, such as the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Under her leadership, the Foundation has secured unprecedented funding to help provide programs and services that truly change lives. Before joining AARP Foundation, Ms. Ryerson served as the president and CEO of Wells College in Aurora, N.Y.


Roger Thurow
Author/Senior Fellow on Global Food and Agriculture, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Roger Thurow joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow on global food and agriculture in January 2010 after three decades at The Wall Street Journal. For 20 years, he was a foreign correspondent based in Europe and Africa. His coverage of global affairs spanned the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela, the end of apartheid, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the humanitarian crises of the first decade of this century. In 2003, he and colleague Scott Kilman wrote a series of stories on famine in Africa that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting and was honored by the United Nations. The pair co-authored of the book “ENOUGH: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty” and were awarded Action Against Hunger’s Humanitarian Award.