The World Food Program (WFP) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts in curbing starvation due to the coronavirus pandemic and government lockdowns.
The United Nations-run program is based in Rome and assists over 86 million people in around more than 80 countries annually. This year, it has seen a tremendous increase in need as the coronavirus and related restrictions have pushed poor communities over the edge.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley shared his excitement regarding the news from Niger, where he was visiting Friday.
"Every one of the 690 million hungry people in the world today has the right to live peacefully and without hunger," Beasley said in a statement. "Today, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has turned the global spotlight on them and on the devastating consequences of conflict."
Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said that the award was given to the WFP as a "signal" against "nationalism" that would hinder international cooperation.
"We are sending a signal to every nation who raises objections to international cooperation," said Reiss-Andersen. "We are sending a signal to this type of nationalism where the responsibility for global affairs is not being faced."
The news trended on Twitter Friday, with many mocking President Trump for not receiving the award, since he received three nominations. Others pointed out that the award was a shot at leaders like Trump, who has pulled the U.S. out U.N. bodies and cut funding to the U.N.'s World Health Organization over Chinese ties that allegedly prevented it from taking steps to stop COVID-19 before it spread.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the president, however, pointing out that Beasley was appointed to his role with WFP by President Trump in 2017 and that the U.S. is the largest donor to the program.