Luck to Speak on "Hunger, Hope, Human Dignity"

Former president of Heifer International at U of A for Bumpers Lecture

Monday, March 31, 2014
Jo Luck, former president and CEO of Heifer International

Jo Luck, former president and CEO of Heifer International

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jo Luck, former president of Heifer International, is the latest speaker in the Dale and Betty Bumpers Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Arkansas, which is sponsored by the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

The third annual event, which is co-hosted this year by the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in Giffels Auditorium in Old Main. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is on a first come, first served basis.

 Luck is a 2010 World Food Prize Laureate for her work to ensure availability and sustainability of food to people in need around the world. Her lecture is titled “From Hunger to Hope to Human Dignity.”

She served as Heifer International’s president and chief executive officer from 1992 until her retirement in 2010. She directed the organization’s international programs from 1989 to 1992.

Under Luck’s leadership, the global humanitarian organization grew its budget from $7 million to more than $130 million, and expanded programs and projects into numerous countries.

The mission of Heifer International is to work with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty, and to care for the Earth through sustainable practices. Heifer’s goal is to give families a hand-up, not a hand-out, by helping them turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance. Heifer currently provides livestock, trees, seeds and training in environmentally sound agriculture to families in more than 50 countries.

Gifts of livestock and training help families improve their nutrition and generate income. Animal donations are “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of their animal’s offspring to another family in need.

Prior to joining Heifer, Luck served as executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for more than a decade as then-Gov. Bill Clinton's first cabinet appointee in January 1979. Luck was also the first executive director of the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, an organization modeled after the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, D.C.

After serving 22 years at Heifer, she left to pursue similar endeavors as a consultant on global food security issues and the empowerment of smallholder farmers, primarily women, in developing countries. She serves as Chair of the Program Oversight Panel for Aquatic Agricultural Systems for the WorldFish Center based in Penang, Malaysia, and is a member of the DuPont Advisory Committee on Agricultural Innovation and Productivity for the 21st Century.

From 2011 to 2013, Luck served on the Board of International Food and Agriculture Development, advising the USAID Administrator; as a member of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs Initiative for Global Agriculture Development (2011-2013); and as a member of the Farm Foundation’s Dialogue on Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century Steering Committee (2011-2012)

Luck’s business travels include a trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina on a fact-finding mission by invitation from the U.N. High Commission on Refugees. She was also a member of an evaluation team of non-government development specialists, invited by UNICEF to visit Cuba, to review programs and services impacting children and families in 1995.

The Tyson Family Foundation and the Tyson Foods Foundation made a gift to help endow the Dale and Betty Bumpers Distinguished Lecture Series, which was launched in April 2012 with a talk by Bill Clinton.

The series symbolizes the Bumpers College’s focus on three vital issues: the international prominence of Arkansas agriculture and food industries; the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability for the strength and vibrancy of our economy; and the quality of life as championed by Betty Bumpers on behalf of child wellness, human development and healthy living choices. The college seeks to advance the business of foods and impact of foods on human health, environmental sustainability and human quality of life.

Contacts:

Curt Rom, horticulture professor
Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sci
479-575-7434, crom@uark.edu

Robby Edwards, director of communication
Bumpers College
479-575-4625, robbye@uark.edu

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