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Internationally recognized expert on hunger kicks off UMPI lecturer series

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will present Joel Berg, international hunger expert, author, and CEO of Hunger Free America, as the first guest speaker in its 2017-2018  Distinguished Lecturer Series on Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. As part of the 4th annual Maine Hunger Dialogue taking place at UMPI, Berg, the author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America?, will deliver the keynote address, discussing hunger in America and how the public can build the political movement necessary to end the problem once and for all. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

In his talk, titled Why the U.S. has Hunger and How We Can End It (Really), Berg will discuss the questions and problems of America’s growing hunger rate. He is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on U.S. politics, hunger, poverty, food, volunteerism, and nutrition. His organization, Hunger Free America, is a nonprofit group building a grassroots, non-partisan membership movement in all 50 states to enact the policies and programs necessary to end domestic hunger and ensure that all Americans have sufficient access to nutritious food.

Berg’s keynote address during the Maine Hunger Dialogue, being held at UMPI Oct. 20-21, will serve as the focal point for a whole weekend focused on motivating college students from around the state to take action to alleviate hunger and food insecurity experienced by millions of people around the world, and thousands in Maine. The theme for this year’s Maine Hunger Dialogue, which is sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in partnership with Maine Campus Compact and citizen volunteers, is food waste and recovery.

Berg wrote the decade’s definitive book on U.S. hunger, All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America?, published by Seven Stories Press in 2008. Seven Stories Press just published his second book in February 2017, America, We Need to Talk: A Self-Help Book for the Nation. Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison called the book “important and entertaining.” He has delivered hundreds of speeches in more than 37 states, from Maine to Alaska, and in five countries on four continents.

Berg has been covered extensively by national and international media, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Fox News, CNN, National Public Radio, The Kudlow Report, All In with Chris Hayes, and NBC Evening News. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and multiple blogs. He has also appeared in three documentary films.

Before joining Hunger Free America, Berg worked for eight years in senior executive service positions in Bill Clinton’s presidential administration, served on the Clinton/Gore Presidential Transition Team, and staffed the 1992 Bill Clinton for President campaign. While working for 13 years as a political campaign professional, he lived in numerous states around the country, including Maine.

The University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors four to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

UMPI welcomes the campus and the community is invited and encouraged to attend this special talk on Oct. 20. For more information about this event, contact the University’s Community and Media Relations Office at 207-768-9452 or email umpi@maine.edu. For more information about the Maine Hunger Dialogue, visit https://extension.umaine.edu/hunger-dialogue/.