The Weeknd Named Goodwill Ambassador

for United Nations World Food Programme

At a private reception in Los Angeles, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) inducted its newest Goodwill Ambassador, multi-platinum and diamond certified Grammy Award© winning artist Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. The Weeknd, joining fellow U.N. World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassadors Kate Hudson and Michael Kors, will use his voice and platform to advocate for ending global hunger.

The Weeknd has been a passionate advocate and generous supporter of humanitarian causes throughout his career, with over $3 million in donations to various organizations in the past year. Most recently, he donated $1 million to the U.N. World Food Programme’s relief efforts in Ethiopia following months of deadly violence in northern Ethiopia. As the son of Ethiopian immigrants to Canada, the conflict deeply impacted him, and ultimately this moved him to deepen his relationship with the U.N. World Food Programme.

WFP USA President & CEO Barron Segar. Photo by WFP USA.

World Food Program USA President and CEO Barron Segar offered welcoming remarks, praising The Weeknd’s commitment to advocating and helping the world’s hungriest people:

“Abel is one of the most incredible voices we will ever see around the world for those who go hungry every night.”

U.N. WFP Executive Director David Beasley.(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for U.N. World Food Programme)

U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley came to the stage to share about the current global hunger crisis:

“We are reaching now a crisis point unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. It’s hard to believe that the world doesn’t know about this…43 nations with 42 million people literally in more trouble than we’ve ever seen since World War II.”

Introducing The Weeknd as the newest Goodwill Ambassador, Executive Director Beasley pointed out:

“Why is today important? Because we’re going to wake up and shake up the world and the world leaders. And we need a superstar, a Super Bowl hero, to come out and be our superhero…We need someone like The Weeknd to help wake up the world, with passion, that will come and help deliver that message.”

two men speaking on blue stairs
U.N. World Food Programme’s David Beasley said he was ‘thrilled’ to welcome The Weeknd.
Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

As Abel walked up to the stage to receive his official letter designating him as a Goodwill Ambassador, Executive Director Beasley said to him, “We need your heart. We need your voice. You’re going to help us save millions of people around the world. Thank you.”

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 07: (L-R) Josette Sheeran, WFP USA CEO Barron Segar, President & Co-Founder of Islamic Relief USA Anwar Khan, U.N. WFP Executive Director David Beasley, The Weeknd, Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, PepsiCo Foundation VP & Global Head of Philanthropy C.D. Glin, and U.N. WFP USA Board of Directors Rima Fakih attend the U.N. World Food Programme as it welcomes The Weeknd as a Goodwill Ambassador on October 07, 2021 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for U.N. World Food Programme)

Distinguished event guests included former U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran and World Food Program USA Board members philanthropist Rima Fakih Slaiby, chef and television personality Sandra Lee, President of Islamic Relief USA Anwar Khan, and eBay Chief Compliance Officer Molly Finn.

Wheatfields to the World: Oregon

Hunger & Humanitarian Aid

For more than 50 years, the United States has led the world in support for international food security programs. The U.S. was instrumental in creating the United Nations World Food Programme—2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the largest hunger-relief humanitarian organization—in the 1960s and today is its largest government donor. We’ll explore the U.S. legacy of food aid and anti-hunger advocacy, why it matters, and the dynamic role that American agriculture, particularly Oregon’s wheat industry, plays in helping to combat both domestic and global hunger. Join us as we welcome Rebecca Middleton, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, World Food Program USA; Amanda Hoey, CEO of the Oregon Wheat Growers Commission/Oregon Wheat Growers League; Jeremy Everett, founder and executive director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty for a rich and engaging discussion about global and domestic food insecurity and Oregon’s contributions to aid, hunger-relief, and the global food supply.

Event will focus on the American legacy of humanitarian aid, and the pivotal role that U.S. agriculture, particularly Oregon’s wheat producers, play in supporting international food assistance.


  • Rebecca Middleton, World Food Program USA, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer
  • Amanda Hoey, Oregon Wheat Growers Commission/Oregon Wheat Growers League, CEO
  • Jeremy Everett, Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, Founder and Executive Director

The Dry Corridor:

Climate Change & Hunger in Central America

Santa Fe Council on International Relations

The people of Central America’s Dry Corridor—comprised of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua—are fighting for their survival against the shocks of climate change and the pandemic’s fallout. Extreme weather events—including hurricanes, torrential rain, flooding, as well as months-long droughts—have devastated communities and disrupted food production, especially staples like maize and beans which depend on regular rainfall. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, the number of hungry Central Americans has quadrupled over the last two years to 8 million people—with 1.7 million requiring urgent food assistance for their survival. Join our expert panel as we explore the impact of climate change in Central America, the state of food insecurity there, and how the U.N. World Food Programme and others are supporting communities and building resilience to climate shocks.


  • Chase Sova, World Food Program USA, Senior Director of Public Policy and Thought Leadership
  • Kate Milliken, United Nations World Food Programme, Regional Climate  Change  Adviser, Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Ambassador Carlos Fuller, United Nations, Permanent Representative of Belize to the UN

Global Minnesota

World Food Day Conference

Working Together for a World Without Hunger

David Beasley, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme  (2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Introduction by Martha (Muffy) MacMillan, Board Chair, Global Minnesota

Food Safety and Security in the Midst of COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis


  • Amer Daoudi, Senior Director of Operations, United Nations World Food Programme
  • Ruth Petran, Senior Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, Ecolab
  • Mike Ryan, Executive Director, World Health Organization Emergencies Program
  • Moderator: Mark Ritchie

Policy Roundtable

Food Loss

In Sub-Saharan Africa, millions of subsistence farmers depend on small plots of land to grow the food they need to survive. Unfortunately, up to 40 percent of all the crops they harvest are ruined during storage.

Johnson Kagoye
Johnson Kagoye, WFP government partnerships officer.

On April 17, 2019, WFP USA convened a group of stakeholders in policy, the private sector and humanitarianism to meet with Johnson Kagoye, WFP’s government partnerships officer in Uganda, for a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill about the cause, effects and solutions to the problem.

For the past five years, Johnson has overseen one of WFP’s most successful anti-food-loss projects: The Post-Harvest Loss Reduction Initiative. What started as plastic containers from local soda processing plants were turned into air-tight storage containers that keep out rodents, bugs and mold. The containers have revolutionized food storage, keeping crops fresh for months on end and cutting post-harvest losses to less than 2 percent. Johnson detailed how private sector partners helped bring the solutions to scale:

We now have three different types of storage technologies to offer farmers: airtight bags, plastic silos and metal tanks…Now, five years on, we’ve reached 325,000 participants in Uganda alone.”

Johnson detailed the wide-ranging benefits that improved storage has brought to individuals and their communities including participation by women, increased food security and farmers able to sell their surplus crops in local markets.

What’s next?

Our goal is to reach 100 million households,” said Johnson. “In the meantime, we’re doing what we can to work with the private sector to continue to get funding and infrastructure support to move this program forward. But I’m excited that we’ve already made a difference in the lives of thousands of families – and about the potential of this project to further create a more sustainable and hunger-free future.”

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