The World Food Prize Foundation

2020 Speaker | Joshua V. Barr

Joshua V. Barr
Director, Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission

Joshua V. Barr is an Emmy award-winning, transformational leader from South Carolina. In 2015, Joshua became the director of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission. As director, he increased the number of complaints filed in the office by 170% and the number of probable cause discrimination cases by 500%. He also spearheaded the Bridging the Gap initiative where the Commission conducted community dialogues to develop policies designed to increase opportunity and make a safe, more just community for all. Through the initiative, the Commission was able to create new city policies including: protected class status for persons with government benefits to obtain housing; protecting the right of residents to be free from inquiry about immigration status from local law enforcement; and developing a cultural competency training program for all city employees. In 2020, Joshua debuted the Emmy award winning documentary Breaking Bread, Building Bridges where he and his team took 40 strangers and matched them together based on their differences to have dinners over the course of a few months. Joshua served as the creator, director, and executive producer of the documentary. That same year the documentary won the 2020 Governor’s Emmy® Award by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

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