History News Network oped: Irish Legend Should Inspire the Fight Against Famine Today

The hit Irish show Riverdance includes a segment titled The Countess Cathleen, which was originally a verse drama by William Butler Yeats, published in 1893. 

This legendary tale of Countess Cathleen (aka Kathleen) begins with Irish peasants starving to death during a famine. Demons have descended upon the desperate poor trying to get them to sell their souls to the Devil in exchange for gold to buy food. The wealthy Countess Cathleen tries to help the peasants by selling off her riches to buy food and end the starvation.

See my full story at the History News Network

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Chicago Sun-Times oped: Lincoln made a Thanksgiving plea for peace.

Lincoln made a Thanksgiving plea for peace. Let’s now envision a world without war or hunger.

When President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the National Thanksgiving Day holiday in 1863, he had peace on his mind. The United States was in the midst of The Civil War.

Lincoln called for a Thanksgiving prayer to end the war: “to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

Peace abroad was important to Lincoln as well, shown by his stating in the Thanksgiving proclamation that “peace has been preserved with all nations.” While the North and South fought the Civil War, there was also the danger of the U.S. going to war with Great Britain again. The U.S. almost withdrew from an agreement with Britain that disarmed warships on the Great Lakes. Fortunately the historic Rush-Bagot agreement, which has symbolized the peaceful border with Canada, was saved.

See my full commentary in today’s Chicago Sun-Times

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Thanksgiving College FreeRice Challenge Nov. 12-20

This Thanksgiving, feed “silent guests” at your holiday meals by donating to the World Food Program (WFP) through FreeRice. Your guest represents one of the world’s 45 million people globally on the brink of starvation according to the latest news from the UN WFP.

Join Universities Fighting World Hunger as we begin the FreeRice Thanksgiving Challenge. Every correct answer you get playing FreeRice donates 10 grains of rice to WFP. The competition runs November 12-20 as part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

To participate:

  1. Sign up at FreeRice.com
  2. Create an account.
  3. Click the three-bar icon in the upper left corner and select “Groups”.
  4. Enter your organization’s name (including university) and select “Make new group”.
  5. Share your group code with members and email the UFWH Coordinator at lrs0055@auburn.edu to let us know you are playing along! The first 10 people to register will receive a UFWH t-shirt.

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Harrisburg Patriot News oped: There is a Halloween treat that can save lives

This Halloween you will likely see a TV ad for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, one of the most popular and yummy candies. But when you see it, think of another peanut product instead. This one is called Plumpy’Nut.

Like the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, it comes in a small wrapping. Some have said that Plumpy’Nut tastes a bit like a Reese’s cup. But what Plumpy’Nut does is a miracle, it saves the lives of starving children worldwide.

See my full commentary in the Harrisburg Patriot News:

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Newsweek oped: On World Food Day, Leave No One Behind

The theme for World Food Day is “Leave No One Behind.”

“We need to build a sustainable world where everyone, everywhere has regular access to enough nutritious food. No one should be left behind,” the U.N. Food Agriculture Organization stated.

There are steps you can take today to ensure that those in need have food to survive.

see my full commentary at Newsweek

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Chicago Tribune oped: Our Mission on the Anniversary of Hiroshima, Nagasaki

We still have a mission to fulfill on the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We must rededicate ourselves to building peace and reducing nuclear weapons worldwide. The atomic bombs leveled the two Japanese cities near the end of World War II, killing over 100,000 people instantly. Many others died in the aftermath from wounds and radiation exposure, a slow and painful death. The horror of World War II and the atomic bombings is something we must not forget.

But as time has passed, this has become harder. Even back in 1979, Ambassador Gerard C. Smith asked, “Where is the horror we felt in looking at photos of Nagasaki and Hiroshima? All of us, I think, have become calloused to the threat of nuclear war and the effects of nuclear weapons.”

see my full commentary which appeared in the August 7th print edition of the Chicago Tribune.

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Filed under nuclear arms control, nuclear weapons

Washington Post oped: Harry Truman’s Easter push to address world hunger can inspire us today

This Easter, we are in the midst of a horrific global hunger crisis that is fast escalating due to the war in Ukraine. As a major source of wheat, Ukraine is a lifeline for many poor countries. Without access to these precious resources, relief operations are hindered as global food prices continue to climb.

What can be done to address the hunger crisis? To cope with the shortages and higher prices, funding for global food aid programs can be increased. History shows us this can be done if we each sacrifice a little.

That’s what President Harry S. Truman did at Easter in 1946, a year that witnessed another major food crisis in the wake of World War II. Truman canceled the traditional Easter Egg Roll at the White House and cut back on the White House Easter dinner. Such symbolic actions of sacrifice provided an example for citizens to follow. Everyone needed to be involved to save enough food to send overseas to feed the hungry.

see my full commentary at The Washington Post

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Newsweek oped: In Ukraine, Humanitarian Crisis Must Be Prevented

If Russia were to invade Ukraine, it would lead to a massive humanitarian crisis in eastern Europe. The U.S. and allies must convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops from Ukraine’s border.

An estimated 100,000 Russian troops are at the ready to invade Ukraine. “Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation. We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said. Pope Francis has called for Jan. 26 to be a day of prayer for peace for Ukraine.

A diplomatic solution is urgently needed to prevent an escalating child hunger and refugee crisis in Ukraine. Putin’s aggression could threaten the lives of thousands of children, the charity Save the Children warned.

See my full commentary at Newsweek Magazine

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Chicago Sun Times oped: We must mobilize against nuclear weapons to turn back the Doomsday Clock

The Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on Jan. 20, announced the Doomsday Clock is again at 100 seconds to midnight. The Doomsday Clock, designed in 1947 by Chicago artist Martyl Langsdorf, measures how close we are to nuclear war, as well as the impact on human existence of climate change and pandemics.

With the Doomsday Clock remaining so close to midnight, there is a call to action for each of us to advocate for eliminating nuclear weapons.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is asking people to join the #TurnBackTheCloick challenge. On social media you are encouraged to share stories and ideas about how we can eliminate nuclear weapons, and people are encouraged to use the hashtag #TurnBackTheClock.

see my full commentary in the Chicago Sun Times

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Filed under arms control, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, disarmament, nuclear weapons

Newsweek oped: We Need MLK’s Courage to End Hunger

A great way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day is to share his boldness to end hunger. We are stronger at home if we eliminate hunger and its ill effects. By building stability and peace abroad by ending hunger we can save countless lives.

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies,” Dr. King said.

But tragically for the poor, finding one meal a day is a daunting task, and in some places a miracle. In 43 nations right now, millions of people wake up not knowing where their next meal will come from. Famine conditions have taken hold.

see my full commentary at Newsweek Magazine

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