Ending hunger and malnutrition has been McGovern's focus for decades. In the 1960s, he served as director of President John F. Kennedy's Food for Peace Program. More recently, he questioned the Bush Administration's proposed $48 billion increase in military spending, and suggested the United States would be better off investing half of those funds in causes around the world pertaining to nutrition, health, education, and the environment.
"I hope someday we will be able to proclaim that we have banished hunger in the United States, and that we've been able to bring nutrition and health to the whole world," McGovern said during the Church World Service Conference in Daytona Beach, Fla., on March 14.
McGovern currently serves as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), working on behalf of American farmers and hungry children throughout the world. He recently authored a best-selling book on the topic, "The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger in Our Time," in which he proposes a five-point plan for ending hunger in the world by 2030.
McGovern's visit to Hobart and William Smith Colleges is part of the President's Forum Series initiated by Colleges' President Mark D. Gearan. McGovern is a seasoned veteran of the college lecture scene, having spoken at more than 1,000 colleges and universities around the world. He has received many honorary degrees and distinguished awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.
McGovern attended Dakota Wesleyan University from 1940 to 1942 and left to serve in the Army Air Corps in World War II, flying 35 combat missions as B-24 bomber pilot in Europe and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war he returned to Dakota Wesleyan University, graduating in 1946. McGovern earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American history and government at Northwestern University in Chicago.
McGovern returned to Dakota Wesleyan University in 1950 as a professor of history and political science. He was elected to Congress in 1956 and reelected in 1958. He was elected to the United States Senate, serving from 1963 to 1981. In 1972, McGovern lost the presidential election to the incumbent, President Richard M. Nixon. In 1976, President Gerald Ford named McGovern a United Nations delegate to the General Assembly, and, in 1978, President Jimmy Carter named him a United Nations delegate for the Special Session on Disarmament.
After leaving the Senate in 1981, McGovern was a visiting professor at numerous institutions, including Columbia University, Northwestern University, Cornell University, American University and the University of Berlin. He served as the president of the Middle East Policy Council from 1991 to 1998, when President Bill Clinton appointed him to his present post with the FAO.
He is also the author of "War Against Want" (1964), "A Time of War, A Time of Peace" (1968), and "The Great Coalfield War" (1972).
The Finger Lakes Times highlighted his upcoming visit.