President and CEO, Lutheran World Relief
Luteran World Relief (LWR) is an end user of Harvest data and outputs. LWR improves the lives of millions of smallholder farmers and their families through sustainable agriculture efforts that focus on building food security and increasing rural incomes through agriculture value chains. LWR works with all actors across agricultural value chains, including input suppliers, farmers and their associations, processors and exporters, and government agencies to enhance the effectiveness of agricultural production and sale. LWR supports the development and strengthening of farmers’ organizations and networks. Collective work lowers input costs, increases access to vital services, improves economies of scale, and helps build economically healthy and resilient communities.
LWR uses information and communication technology platforms to improve data-driven production and extension services. These platforms:
• Help agents provide extension services to farmers;
• Aggregate information that can be shared with potential input suppliers and market outlets for business opportunities;
• Aid unions to better plan for bulk acquisitions, sales, and timely communications with their members; and
• Assist LWR is collecting, compiling, and analyzing project performance and management data.
LWR focuses on protecting smallholder farmers’ assets in the face of changing climates and environmental degradation, through climate change adaptation and mitigation actions. The organization integrates conservation agriculture and sustainable land management practices throughout its programming.
A former U.S. Ambassador to Greece and Belarus, Speckhard has had a long and distinguished career in government service under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Ambassador Speckhard’s previous positions have included serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary General at NATO and Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq. Immediately prior to joining LWR, he was a senior advisor to Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley company at the forefront of using technology to drive innovative change across the government, commercial and non-profit sectors. A descendant of a long line of Lutheran pastors, Ambassador Speckhard says his Lutheran upbringing instilled in him a strong core value of service to others, and a deep desire to contribute to alleviating poverty, suffering and injustice in the world.
A problem solver, a negotiator, a consensus builder and a visionary, Ambassador Speckhard brings to LWR deep experience working at the nexus of economic development, international security and political change, areas closely linked to LWR’s mission to serve people experiencing poverty and marginalization overseas. In the wider policy arena, he served as a nonresident senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution. Speckhard has a master’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in public policy and administration, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and started his career in government as a Presidential Management Fellow.
Lutheran World Relief: Founded in 1945, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) is a U.S.-based 501(c)3 organization with a mission to end poverty, injustice and human suffering. Lutheran World Relief is helping some of the world’s poorest communities transform from survival to stability by focusing on lasting solutions. LWR focuses its work on humanitarian assistance and long-term development, laying a foundation for resilience, sustainable adaptation to climate change, and the strengthening of value chains in specialty markets, such as coffee and cocoa. In 2016, LWR’s programs reached more than 3.4 million people worldwide. LWR does not proselytize and works with local partners based on identified need, not religious affiliation.