Frances Moore Lappé, Doctor of Humane Letters

June 01, 2004

Frances Moore Lappé received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2004.

Frances Moore Lappé became internationally known with the publication of her bestselling 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet, which has been widely read for over 30 years, raising the awareness of our own ecological footprint. She has recently authored a sequel with her daughter, Anna Lappé. Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet demonstrates Lappé's continued commitment to showing us that the everyday choices we make, even on an individual level, affect the overall shape of the world.

Beyond Lappé's Diet for a Small Planet and Hope's Edge several of her 11 other books have received wide publicity, including Rediscovering America's Values (1989) and The Quickening of America: Rebuilding Our Nation, Remaking our Lives (1994). Frances Moore Lappé has been a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently is a senior fellow at Boston's Second Nature, an educational nonprofit for the advancement of human and ecological well-being.

She is the co-founder of two national organizations committed to solution- oriented policies for world food and democracy. In 1975, with Joseph Collins, Lappé began the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First), a California-based organization founded with the mission to educate Americans about the causes of world hunger. Food First, through numerous publications, studies, and initiatives, remains a respected opinion leader in the international debate on the root causes of hunger and poverty.

In 1990, Lappé co-founded the Center for Living Democracy, and served as founding editor of the center's American News Service. The center engaged in a 10-year project to expose and in turn accelerate democratic innovations that allow citizens to contribute to problem-solving in all dimensions of public life. The news service develops, creates, and circulates solution-oriented news to more than 300 newspapers, including some of the nation's most-read papers.

Frances Moore Lappé believes the study of globalization should focus not only on larger markets, but also on the power that is consolidated in fewer corporations. Lappé eloquently expresses her concern that this handful of corporations will be able to overpower the concerns of citizens, consumers, and ultimately entire countries.

In 1987, Lappé was awarded Sweden's Right Livelihood Award, then the fourth American to receive this prestigious distinction. Today, Frances Moore Lappé receives her 17th honorary doctorate from a distinguished institution. Lappé's book awards include the World Hunger Media Award and the Henry George Award.

Frances Moore Lappé's career has eliminated the distance between the world's problems and those able to solve them. She believes that ordinary people can make positive changes in their communities.

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