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George McGovern received the 2004 Dole Leadership Prize for his bipartisan leadership style, including his work with Bob Dole to pass significant, bipartisan legislation in the Senate.
A native of South Dakota, McGovern had spent much of his life in public service.
He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1945. After receiving his PhD in history from Northwestern University in 1953, McGovern became the executive secretary of the South Dakota Democratic Party and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956. In 1961, he became a Special Assistant to the President as the Director of the Food for Peace Program.
McGovern was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962. McGovern served on the Senate committees on agriculture, nutrition, forestry and foreign relations. A prominent advocate for expanding key nutrition programs, his colleagues sought his well-considered opinions and advice, particularly on issues of farming and agriculture. He lost his Senate seat in 1980 during a nationally high-profile campaign.
Following his Senate career, he continued his dedication to improving the world’s agricultural and nutritional resources. First nominated as a United Nations Delegate to the General Assembly by President Ford, McGovern was again appointed to the international organization in differing posts by Presidents Carter and Clinton. In 2001, the World Food Programme appointed him the first UN Global Ambassador on Hunger.
In 2008, McGovern was a co-recipient of the World Food Prize with Bob Dole for their work in establishing The George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps provide nutritious meals for school-aged children around the world.