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Conference LiveBlog: Ambassador Tony Hall of the Alliance to End Hunger

By Opportunity International

Ambassador Tony Hall is a long-time and tireless advocate for issues of global hunger and poverty eradication, serving as executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger. This morning, Dennis Ripley, Opportunity’s senior vice president of international business development, interviewed Ambassador Hall from the main stage at Opportunity’s conference, sharing his story and how we can affect global food crises.

Highlights from the Conversation with Ambassador Tony Hall

Opportunity senior vice president Dennis Ripley (left) interviews Ambassador Tony Hall about Hall's work to end hunger and increase food security around the world.Hall: I fasted thirty years ago, and I fasted this past spring. But the difference is, today, there are at least slightly fewer people dying from hunger, and people are benefitting from programs such as microcredit.

I was recently in the Horn of Africa with the Alliance to End Hunger. We have a lot of NGO partners and corporate partners, and I wanted to go to represent them and to see the situation for myself.

This is kind of like an Opportunity Insight Trip. You come back and your heart is changed.

Ripley: What first brought you to support microfinance, because several years ago you pushed through a bill in Congress that supported this solution.

Hall: Well, I think it’s so important to support microfinance programs. World leaders have said to me, your aid is helpful, but when are you going to help our people get back on their feet? And they’re right. That’s what microfinance can do.

Ripley: You were joined in your recent fast by David Beckmann of Bread for the World and Jim Wallis of Sojourners. What can we all do to follow you, even if we are not ready to fast?

Ambassador Tony Hall and Opportunity's Dennis Ripley.Hall: There are so many things we can do. Years ago, I met Mother Theresa, and she told me, “For the least of these. I always want you to remember that. If everyone did the thing in front of them, we wouldn’t need half the aid we have.” So what’s in front of you? Opportunity International is one of the greatest organizations around, but if you don’t want to support Opportunity or you don’t want to fast and pray, address the local problems in front of you, wherever you are.

A bit about Ambassador Tony Hall

Tony Hall has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and is a leading advocate for hunger relief programs and improving human rights in the world. Currently, Ambassador Hall is executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger and serves on Opportunity International’s Board of Advisors. He was U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, Italy, from 2002 to 2005. Prior to that, he represented the third district of Ohio in the U.S. Congress for 24 years, authoring legislation that supported food aid, child survival, basic education, primary health care, microfinance and development assistance in the world’s poorest countries. A founding member of the Select Committee on Hunger, Ambassador Hall served as its chairman from 1989 to 1993. In response to the abolishment of the committee in April 1993, he fasted for 22 days to draw attention to the needs of hungry people around the world. He is the author of Changing the Face of Hunger: The Story of How Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, and People of Faith are Joining Forces in a New Movement to Help the Hungry, the Poor, and the Oppressed.

This session was streamed live at opportunity.org/live. Visit opportunity.org/live throughout the conference to watch the sessions live.

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