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World Food Program receives Nobel Peace Prize in Covid-proof ceremony

"Famine is at humanity’s doorstep,” World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley said as he received the award.

ROME — The World Food Program received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize via an unconventional Covid-proof, online ceremony Thursday.

In November, the world’s largest humanitarian organization was announced as this year’s choice for the prestigious award for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

The award’s traditional lavish banquets and glittering ceremonies usually held in in Oslo and Stockholm were replaced this year by an online, socially distant event due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Since 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has been presented in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. It is a grand event held in Oslo’s city hall. In a normal year, it would have been filled to capacity, and you would have been greeted by the royal family, the president and the prime minister,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said via video link from the Norwegian capital.

“Due to coronavirus pandemic, it wasn’t possible to host you in Oslo today.”

Instead, WFP Executive Director David Beasley received the prize, medal and diploma at the organization’s headquarters in Rome.

"Famine is at humanity’s doorstep,” he said, accepting the award. “Because of so many wars, climate change and a global health pandemic that makes all that exponentially worse, 270 million people are marching towards starvation. Failing to address their needs will cause a hunger pandemic which will dwarf the impact of Covid.”