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World Food Day Celebrated


More than 150 countries around the world are celebrating World Food Day, the October 16th anniversary of the founding of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945.

Over 6 million people have died from hunger and related diseases so far this year alone. More than 850 million people in the world do not have sufficient food.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, has been working hard towards achieving the goal of reducing the number of hungry people in the world by half by 2015.

Today, the organization marked World Food Day and a special ceremony was held at its Rome headquarters.

FAO Director General Jacques Diouf says the theme chosen for this year's World Food Day, which is now 25 years old, is "Agriculture and intercultural dialogue: our common heritage."

He says dialogue across cultures makes it possible to adopt new knowledge. Dr. Diouf added that the world today has the resources and technology needed to produce enough food to meet growing demand and to eliminate the hunger of poor people.

Dr. Diouf appointed three new FAO goodwill ambassadors: Paraguay's first lady Ms. Maria Gloria Penayod de Duarte, world athletic champion Beatrice Faumuina, from New Zealand and Irish singer Ronan Keating.

Ms. Penayo de Duarte, the first extraordinary ambassador for FAO, has supported and backed food security initiatives and played an active role in health and human development programs for women, poor people and street children in Paraguay.

Beatrice Faumuina was the first woman in the entire Southwest Pacific Region to win a World Championship title. In 1997 she struck gold at the discus throw.

Ronan Keating made his debut as a singer when he was 18. In June 2004 he made a trip that changed his life. He visited farmers and families in Ghana and other developing countries and was shocked by the sight of poverty and the terrible impact of unfair trade laws.

Since 1999, FAO goodwill ambassadors have contributed to the organization's mission by helping to put the spotlight on the problem of world hunger.