Archive for the ‘The Hunger Project’ Tag

Werner Erhard and The Hunger Project

“What The Hunger Project intended to do was to catalyze the global grass-roots committed movement and action that would put the end of persistent hunger into place, which means not just feeding hungry people today, but establishing the whole design, the whole infrastructure so that people can feed themselves and their children well into future generations. You see, it was a project of great faith in human beings. Great faith that if hundreds and thousands and millions of individuals took a stand for the end of the persistence of hunger, as an idea whose time has come, that they would then find an action that was appropriate to them. So if they were an engineer or an agricultural specialist, or if they were a politician, or a United Nations delegate, or if they happened to be a scientist or a professor, or the President of the High School Student Body, all of those individuals would have different actions available to them that would have a different impact. The entirety of the impact would be that child in Uganda being fed on a given day, being inoculated so as to survive disease, and being educated – of great importance to end the persistence of hunger – and that ultimately, we the global citizens of the world would be acting for the benefit of our children. And the necessary actions would take place.

So you see it was a stand based on faith and the goodness of humanity, that if human beings knew what they needed to know and lived inside of a context of “it can be done” they would take the actions that were theirs to take that would make that difference.

The Hunger Project enrolled over four million individuals who signed a paper saying “I have taken a stand. I will make the end of hunger an idea whose time has come as my personal responsibility.” The Global grass-roots educational campaign went on from 1977 and through the 80’s. Millions of people enrolled and participated and contributed money and there were many, many groups that broke off from The Hunger Project. “Results” was one that did political action in Washington, DC. Another was “World Runners” where people would do marathons to end world hunger, to get out the news, to alert people that something could be done. In those days, that was really rare, and now you see marathons for everything, which is wonderful. Walks to end breast cancer, and marathons for AIDS awareness, and in those days it was really unusual, it was new. And there was enormous participation through the 80’s and then at the end of the 80’s The Hunger Project made a transformation of its own and began to do very high level strategic work, which it’s currently doing in Africa and India primarily.

I would say in many ways it was successful all the way to the hungry people, in that millions more dollars were given and raised for organizations that were working on the ground doing relief work as well as for The Hunger Project. The Hunger Project raised hundreds of millions of dollars for other organizations as well. Infant Mortality rates fell in many countries. In some countries, due to war since then, they have again risen, The correlation between war and the infant mortality rate is a direct one. War creates the persistence of hunger and starvation. Also, really tens of thousands, if not more, of people, like me, became lifelong advocates for the end of the persistence of hunger and contribute as volunteers, contribute as donors, contribute as professionals to all kinds of organizations and vehicles and policies to help bring about the end of the persistence of hunger.

I think that once one makes a commitment with your heart and soul, I think it takes over your very molecules in a way. It becomes a very part of your personal life’s mission, and then the choices you make will be consistent with that mission. I’ve changed jobs and have participated with projects with many different countries and organizations, all of them consistent with the end of the persistence of hunger, and that will always be the case for me. And I think really for the many thousands of people who made this stand in the 70s and 80s.”

From an Interview with Catherine Parrish on The Hunger Project and Werner Erhard

John Denver

“Werner Erhard epitomizes for me what it is to be a human being. It is through my experience of him that I have most completely come to know myself.”– John Denver

werner erhard and jojn denver

John Denver first became involved with est in 1973 when he was 30 years old. Many of his lyrics are tributes to the ideas and awareness he gained through his experiences of himself through est. John Denver, along with Werner Erhard and Buckminster Fuller, was one of the founding members of the Hunger Project, a global movement with a vision and commitment to end hunger by organizing the necessary leadership, training, and education.

The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project is a grassroots organization that was first formed in 1977 to generate global awareness about chronic persistent hunger and build a consensus to bring about its end.  Lynne Twist  says, ” Werner Erhard is a great thinker and genius in ontology, in the ontology of being, and training people in the principles of transformation… Out of a series of conversations with Buckminster Fuller and Werner Erhard, something called the Hunger Project was born. They actually saw that the greatest breakdown in human integrity was hunger.  To let millions of people die of hunger in a world awash with food was an integrity issue, not a food issue and not a political issue, but an integrity issue. Out of that, this remarkable project called the Hunger Project was born with help from John Denver, the great singer/songwriter, and others. It was first launched through the EST graduate body, of which I was one. “

Lynne Twist

Everybody has milestones and epiphanies. Mine came in the EST training which I took in 1974 with Werner Erhard. It just revolutionized my life. I really came to understand that I could turn my life over to making a difference. That experience led me to be in the right place at the right time when The Hunger Project was born. I heard Werner Erhard say for the first time at a big meeting that he was taking a stand to end world hunger. My whole body started to shake, and I knew that that was why I was born, that that was what I came here to do. It was impractical because I was a very busy young mother, but it was a calling so remarkable that I could not deny it, and so I went with it. That’s what the EST training did for me; What was almost a split personality, between my spiritual path and my more public path, became one. I became fearless about living authentically after the EST training. Then The Hunger Project gave me the platform to express it.

Werner Erhard is a great thinker and genius in ontology, in the ontology of being, and training people in the principles of transformation. Buckminster Fuller was a great scientist and was one of the first people to really see a long-term breakdown that would come from unsustainable practices. He was an incredible man. When they met each other, they met in a setting and in a context that we helped to create, where they actually saw themselves in one another and saw a new future.

Out of that series of conversations with Buckminster Fuller and Werner Erhard, something called the Hunger Project was born. They actually saw that the greatest breakdown in human integrity was hunger. To let millions of people die of hunger in a world awash with food was an integrity issue, not a food issue and not a political issue, but an integrity issue.”

From an Interview with Lynne Twist
Lynne Twist, Soul of Money Institute, acknowledges her work with Werner Erhard in an inspiring interview.

Werner Erhard’s Influence: Individuals Making a Difference Worldwide

The est Training, created by Werner Erhard, inspired it’s participants to make a difference for people in all walks of life.  To fulfill the humanitarian motivations of these est graduates a number of non profit organizations were founded by Werner Erhard along with other original est staffers, notably Gonneke Spits. Through these non profit organizations,  literally hundreds of thousands of people illustrated  the power that “the little individual” could improve the conditions of people all around the world. ‘The Breakthrough Foundation‘ gave ‘Youths At Risk’ new opportunities in their lives, while also fostering and funding development in Africa. Millions of people committed themselves to working to end hunger throughout the world through ‘The Hunger Project‘ and its many offshoots.  The ‘Community Workshop’  gave ordinary people a new opportunity to contribute to their own communities.  These organizations, as well as the Werner Erhard Foundation, inspired est Training participants to go out and make a difference in their lives. They provided forums for individuals to make a difference worldwide. For more information about the Werner Erhard Foundation visit http://wernererhardfoundation.org.