Why the World Food Programme's 2020 Nobel Peace Prize is totally deserved

Editor's Note: Over the past year Upworthy's parent company was a proud partner with the WFP using our platform to share stories of their fight against hunger around the world.

Out of 318 candidates, including youth climate activist Greta Thunberg and President Donald Trump, the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 has been awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) "for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict."

Having written about the work of WFP for Upworthy, this news warmed my heart. From researching WFP's efforts to battle gender inequality with food security to reading their educational materials on how climate change impacts hunger and causes forced migration, I was blown away by the broad scope of what they do. As I dug in further and saw the various informational videos put together by my colleagues, the clearer it became that tackling hunger totally requires that kind of scope. Hunger is a multifaceted issue that impacts everything—including war and conflict—and our world will never be at peace if this most fundamental need is not being met for millions.

The World Food Programme is the largest organization addressing hunger and food insecurity in the world. According to the Nobel committee press release, "the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger" in 2019. The committee pointed out that there has been an increase in acute hunger in recent years, with most of that increase being caused by war and armed conflict.

And of course, the pandemic is only making things worse.


The Nobel committee says that they want this award "to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger." They also point to the need for supporting organizations like WFP financially, making the direct connection between hunger and conflict:

"The world is in danger of experiencing a hunger crisis of inconceivable proportions if the World Food Programme and other food assistance organisations do not receive the financial support they have requested.

The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle: war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence. We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to emphasise that providing assistance to increase food security not only prevents hunger, but can also help to improve prospects for stability and peace."

While every sincere effort to create peace deserves praise, peacemaking is a far more complex endeavor than signing pieces of paper. Addressing the root causes of war and conflict, understanding the connections between the various challenges facing humanity, and making sure people have what they need so they don't have to fight for survival are all necessary components of creating a peaceful world for all.

Congratulations to World Food Programme for this well-deserved honor. Hopefully this prestigious recognition will lead more people to explore the issues of hunger and food security and support programs and solutions that are proving to be successful.

Learn more about the work of the World Food Programme at wfp.org and wfpusa.org.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.