Judson University will welcome Dean R. Hirsch, former CEO of World Vision International, as its keynote speaker for the annual Community Prayer Breakfast, which will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 7, in the Lindner Fitness Center, 1151 N. State St., Elgin.
Hirsch served as World Vision president from 1996 through 2009, and then as Global Ambassador for the organization until 2010. During his presidency, Hirsch refocused World Vision's development and advocacy work for children. Globally, World Vision programs now benefit more than 3.6 million children and their families and communities.
Under Hirsch's leadership, World Vision dramatically scaled up its relief operations, responding to large-scale disasters including the Asian tsunami in 2005-06 and the Myanmar cyclone and Sichuan earthquake in 2008. During his tenure, World Vision's income grew fivefold. Today, its 40,000 staff members provide health care, education, clean water, emergency food, tools, shelter and technical expertise to millions of the world's poorest inhabitants.
Helping children has been a driving force in Hirsch's leadership. "We should not tolerate the needless suffering of children," he said. "Our mission is to help create a world in which no child suffers or dies for lack of food, clean water, shelter or protection from exploitation or war."
A veteran of world trouble spots including Somalia and North Korea, Hirsch has worked extensively in disaster and post-conflict situations. He has set up famine relief in Ethiopia, AIDS prevention work in Africa and Asia, and peace building programs in countries such as Bosnia, Rwanda and El Salvador.
Prior to his appointment as WVI president in 1996, Hirsch served as chief operating officer, vice president for development and vice president for relief operations. He joined World Vision in 1976 as manager of computer operations.
Today, Hirsch works as a part time consultant to a number of nonprofit agencies that provide assistance domestically and internationally. His focus remains on programs serving the poor and disadvantaged.
Among his clients are World Vision, KPMG and Child Help. As KPMG ambassador, Dean R. Hirsch represents the organization at various meetings, events and other engagements, and seeks to assist and build alliances for KPMG's public sector practices, including International Development Services and the Global Grants Program. KPMG partnerships engage in sustainable development practices bringing hope to people in many countries.
In addition to hearing Dean R. Hirsch's keynote speech, the Community Prayer Breakfast will honor one local civic leader with the D. Ray Wilson Award, which is presented annually to the candidate who has contributed to the greater good within the greater Elgin community by voluntarily serving others' physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual needs.
Judson University's Community Prayer Breakfast welcomes more than 300 Fox Valley volunteers and civic leaders each year. Tickets for the May 7 event will be $18, with online registration at judsonu.edu/prayerbreakfast.