Joan Holmes

President, The Hunger Project


Joan Holmes is president of The Hunger Project, and has led the organization since its inception in 1977. She has built it into an influential strategic organization and a world wide movement for the end of hunger. Her work for the end of hunger takes her around the world, where she pioneers new approaches to enabling people to meet complex political and social challenges. Ms. Holmes is particularly well known for mobilizing and bringing together leadership at all levels and all sectors of society to work together for the end of hunger. She has made numerous contributions to development education, constituency and coalition building and human development strategies and has served on many boards and councils, including membership on the Bretton Woods Committee. Ms. Holmes is the principal author of Ending Hunger: An Idea Whose Time Has Come, as well as numerous articles in newspapers and periodicals.


1957 B.A. Psychology, University of Colorado

1964 M.A. Psychology, San Francisco State University


1977-to date President and CEO, The Hunger Project, a global, strategic organization

1971-75 California State University, Hayward. Lecturer, Supervisor, Graduate School Psychology Interns

1971-74 Director, Title III Project, The Humanistic Approach to Psychological Services

1968-71 Educational Consultant: Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California

1964-68 School Psychologist, Belmont School District, California


2000 Launched the South Asia Initiative to empower grassroots women as key change agents in their villages

1999 Launched the African Woman Food Farmer Initiative

1995 Delegate to the Copenhagen Social Summit and Beijing Women’s Conference

1992 Launched a new strategy for The Hunger Project in Bangladesh, leading to it becoming that nation’s largest voluntary movement for development.

1991 Launched strategic planning-in-action methodology at conference co-sponsored by the Government of Senegal and The Hunger Project, Dakar, May 6-8, 1991.

1990 Developed and launched a new strategic "planning in action" methodology for human development in collaboration with the Planning Commission of India

1989 Co-chair of InterAction Forum, May 6-8.

1988 Created and launched "African Farmer," a magazine dedicated to enhancing the status of small-scale food farmers in Africa.

1987 Launched Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger

Launched a drive in 1987 to raise awareness and money to help avert a famine in Ethiopia

Launched a series of workshops in India titled "Commitment and Action"

1986 Special guest at the UN Economic Commission for Africa annual conference in Cameroon

1985 Delegate to the NGO World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of United Nations Decade for Women, Nairobi

1984 Launched an appeal during the 1984-85 famine in Africa for aid to organizations in InterAction who provided long-term development assistance to countries in Africa;

1983 Directed and managed the launching of The Hunger Project in India. Testified before the House subcommittee

1981 Led delegation to Costa Rica at the invitation of Archbishop Monsignor Roman Arrieta to assess availability of food

Testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa

1980 Led Hunger Project delegation to Somalia to assess hunger situation Convener and Chair, 1980 Symposium on World Hunger, Glen Cove, New York

1979 Participant in President Carter's White House consultation on famine in Cambodia

1977 Launched A Shift in the Wind, the world's largest circulating newspaper devoted to the issue of ending hunger



ENDING HUNGER: An idea whose time has come, The Hunger Project and Praeger Publishers, 1985


"Women in Ending Hunger," chapter in Ashok Bapna book, 1991

West Africa Letter, reprinted in Congressional Record


The Wall St. Journal; USA Today; Christian Science Monitor (reprinted in Congressional Record); The Guardian; The Daily Yomiuri, The Milwaukee Sentinel; Action for Development and The Windstar Journal


2000 Speech at the Institute for Social Studies, New Delhi - "Women and Ending Hunger - the Global Perspective"

1987-1999 Speeches delivered at the Africa Prize announcement events and Award ceremonies

1996 Yaoudé, Cameroon during the OAU Summit

1995 Accra Ghana; New York

1994 Washington, DC (with Presidents Mandela and Clinton)

1993 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Tokyo

1992 Addis Ababa Ethiopia; Rome

1991 Lagos, Nigeria; London

1990 Harare, Zimbabwe; New York

1988 Lusaka, Zambia; New York

1987 Washington, DC; Nairobi, Kenya; New York

1991 Keynote speaker at invitation of President Abdou Diouf of Senegal at the Dakar Conference for a National Strategy for Integrated Rural Development to Ensure Food Self-Sufficiency and Well-Being to the People of Senegal to Lead Productive Lives

1990 Speaker at the conference co-sponsored by the Planning Commission of India and The Hunger Project, November 9

1988 Plenary address to the 19th World Conference of the Society for International Development (SID), March 27, 1988

1985 Speaker at Conference of Business Executives, Sweden


USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Assistance (1988-90)

InterAction: The American Council for Voluntary International Action (Executive Committee, 1984-87, 1989)

International Development Conference (Trustee)

Overseas Development Council (Director, 1984-1996)

Global Board of Directors, The Hunger Project

Executive Secretary, Africa Prize for Leadership Jury