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Nobel Peace for UN food agency

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity in regions of conflict and hardship around the globe.

The Rome-based organisation provided assistance to almost 100 million people in 88 countries around the world last year. “With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announcing the award in Oslo.

“The World Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral cooperation on making food security an instrument of peace,” said Anderson. The organisation has long been headed by an American. In 2017, US President Donald Trump nominated the former Republican governor of South Carolina, David Beasley, for the post.

A giddy Beasley praised the WFP “family” and said they deserved the award.

“I think this is the first time in my life I’ve been without words,” said Beasley over phone from Niger. “I was just so shocked and surprised.”

“Talk about the most exciting point in time in your life, it’s the Nobel Peace Prize. And it’s because of the WFP family. They’re out there in the most difficult, complex places in the world, where there’s war, conflict, climate extremes. … They deserve this award,” he said.

The award comes with a 10-milion krona ($1.1 million) cash prize and a gold medal.

There was no shortage of causes or candidates on this year’s list, with 211 individuals and 107 organisations nominated ahead of the February 1 deadline. The committee maintains absolute secrecy about whom it favours before the announcement of the award.