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Book Launch: "The Political History of American Food Aid: An Uneasy Benevolence"

  • CSIS 1616 Rhode Island Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20036 United States (map)

The U.S. has long played a leading role in delivering food aid in response to natural disasters, conflict, and acute hunger around the world. The remarkable growth in domestic agricultural productivity over the last century has produced millions of tons of grain surpluses that have time and again helped to avert hunger and famine abroad.

In his new book, Barry Riley traces the complex history of American food aid since 1794 and exposes the political processes that have shaped it. The story he narrates demonstrates that America’s food aid policies and programs reflect much more than simple acts of generosity and the capacities of a highly-productive agricultural sector. Decision-making regarding food aid has repeatedly been influenced by humanitarian, agricultural, and foreign policy, as well as heated political controversy and debate. Ultimately, the successful, timely delivery of U.S. food aid has in many instances been accomplished only through the exercise of extraordinary political leadership and administrative skill.

At a critical point in time when world hunger is increasing, reversing years of progress, food aid remains a key – and contentious – element of American foreign policy today. CSIS is hosting an armchair conversation about the history and future of U.S. food aid policy with Barry Riley, author of the new book “The Political History of American Food Aid: An Uneasy Benevolence.”


Event Details

  • Date: November 16, 2017

  • When: 3:30 - 5:00 PM

  • Where: CSIS HQ

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