Telephone interview with David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, following the announcement of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize on 9 October 2020. The interviewer is Olav Njølstad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.
“The world needs a good message right now”
David Beasley: Hello?
Olav Njølstad: Yes, hello, is this Director Beasley speaking?
DB: This is David Beasley.
ON: Hello, how are you sir?
DB: Well, I’m overwhelmed, without words …
ON: Well I’m glad to hear. I’m calling on behalf of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and I just want to congratulate you and your 17,000 employees, with the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020.
DB: I believe what the committee has done today is give recognition to the fact that we can’t forget about the poor, the needy, the vulnerable that are suffering around the world. So I … There’s no way I can tell you how much we appreciate this. I’m just overwhelmed. God knows I’m just overwhelmed, wow.
ON: Well, I’m glad to hear, and it’s so well deserved. I’m not sure whether you have had the chance to listen to the announcement made by the Chair of the Committee, but please allow me to just quote from the opening paragraph.
DB: Yes, that would be great. I haven’t heard anything, I mean I’m literally at a meeting …
DB: Somebody walked in and said ‘the Nobel Peace Prize’, I said ‘yeah, what about it?’, he said ‘we won’, I’m like ‘no way, you’re kidding, you’re pulling my leg.’
ON: Okay, then it’s high time that you hear the explanation for the Prize given by the Chair of the Nobel Committee. She said: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme 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.”
DB: Wow, wow. Please, I know there’ll be a more formal time to do so, but please relay my extraordinary appreciation. I know that they do this every year, but to us and to the world this is… I think this is probably the most important time, I know in my lifetime, so the message to the world is powerful and it’s … the world needs a good message right now.
DB: So thank you so much.
ON: Thank you, and we will come back to you soon with more detailed information of course.
DB: Whatever you need from us, obviously just let us know. And I’m going to be jumping on a plane, flying to Ethiopia in about another hour and a half, two hours, and then I’ll be unavailable for the rest of the day.
ON: Well then I will … I will wish you a safe trip, sir, and we’ll come back to you soon.
DB: Okay, alright.
ON: Thank you.
DB: Thank you sir, alright. Bye bye.
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Their work and discoveries range from the formation of black holes and genetic scissors to efforts to combat hunger and develop new auction formats.
See them all presented here.