David Lambert Tribute by Dan Silverstein

David Lambert
David Lambert
at the World Food Prize
Borlaug Dialogue
on October 16, 2015

My friend David Lambert’s life ended in its 75th year, in the early morning hours of Friday, October 16 2015. According to his son, Walker, David’s heart experienced an electrical malfunction, and it just stopped beating.

David was a gentle, humble, compassionate man, deeply affected by human suffering. He dedicated decades of his life to advocating on behalf of the Earth’s most vulnerable citizens, especially children, particularly girls. That his life’s journey ended without him suffering seemed as if the Universe was saying “Thank You” in the nicest way possible.

David was born in the small southern state of Arkansas. As a young man he served as Legislative Director on the staff of U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Fulbright distinguished himself as a fiercely independent thinker who infused David with a worldview that embraced all cultures. Also working for Senator Fulbright at the same time was junior staffer named Bill Clinton, who would later be elected President of the United States. He would play a continuing role in David’s professional life.

In the 1980s, David served the New York Stock Exchange as its Senior Vice President of public affairs, during which he was a member of the Exchange’s delegation – and its chief negotiator -- at the NYSE's historic U.S.-China Symposium on Financial Markets in Beijing.

In 1999, President Clinton appointed David as permanent alternate representative and Foreign Agricultural Service Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. agencies in Rome, Italy.

His duties included being a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN's Codex Food Safety Commission in both Rome and Geneva, Switzerland. As his reputation for strategic advice grew, he was assigned to accompany Ambassador George McGovern's humanitarian missions throughout Asia and Africa. David drew inspiration and purpose from his close association with Ambassador McGovern and pledged to carry on his work, focusing on school feeding programs, child nutrition, and food security. As the arc of his career bent toward issues related to extreme poverty and hunger, David lectured on the need to “put a human face on hunger”; often encouraging the most powerful officials in the U. S. government to look past statistics to understand the pain and degradation that always accompanies inadequate access to nutritious food.

At the time of his death, David was internationally recognized as a lecturer on these topics, as well as operating Lambert Associates, a Washington, DC public affairs firm providing strategic policy advice to the industry, land-grant universities, governments and UN agencies. In addition, he served as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Iowa State University Seed Science Center and was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Catholic University of America. He died on UN World Food Day, a fitting tribute to his leadership in the field.

Reciting David’s professional accomplishments fails to capture the enormity of his influence throughout the world. He mentored students, inspiring many to embark on careers of service to others; he spoke truth to power, advocating forcefully for the moral obligation of ending world hunger; he inspired audiences to see hunger at a personal level, and to do something about it.

Most of all, David was a champion to his sons, Walker and Taylor, who have grown into vibrant, young men reflecting their father’s compassion and respect for every person on Earth.

Daniel A. Silverstein
Strategic Advisor, Private Sector and Capital Markets
Emerging and Frontier States
2801 Quebec Street NW
Suite 624
Washington, DC 20008 6252
212 874 2487
Daniel Silverstein