The World of Food Aid with Dr. Catherine Bertini
How has international food aid evolved in recent decades? In this installment of the S&S podcast, former Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme Dr. Catherine Bertini talks listeners through the world of food aid, from the Soviet Union to Africa, Afghanistan to New Orleans. She explains the keys to the WFP’s success and efficiency while challenging commonly-held misconceptions about food aid and connecting the necessity of sustainable food assistance with future climate change threats.
Catherine Bertini’s leadership of the UN World Food Programme transformed WFP into the world’s largest and most responsive humanitarian organization. As WFP’s Executive Director, first proposed by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, and re-endorsed by President Bill Clinton in 1997, Ms. Bertini led the efforts to end famine in North Korea, avert starvation in Afghanistan, ensure food was delivered effectively during crises in Bosnia and Kosovo, prevent mass starvation in the Horn of Africa and focusing on women as the key to ending hunger. Because of her reforms, WFP was held as the model for UN efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. Ms. Bertini was named the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her leadership at WFP in ending famine and decreasing hunger. Later, Ms. Bertini served as the Under Secretary General for Management and as UN Security Coordinator. Secretary General Kofi Annan also appointed her as his Humanitarian Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Gaza and the West Bank.
Today, Ms. Bertini serves as a member of the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development, which advises USAID, having been appointed by President George W. Bush and reappointed by President Barrack Obama. Ms. Bertini also is a senior fellow at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs. She serves as a board member of the Stuart Family Foundation, a juror of the Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize, and on the Board of Directors of the Tupperware Brands Corporation.
For two years, she was the Senior Fellow of Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, she served as the Assistant Secretary of Food and Consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she drove nationwide implementation of electronic benefit transfer programs, created a food package for breastfeeding mothers, and oversaw the design of the Food Guide Pyramid.
Ms. Bertini earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Albany and has been accorded with numerous awards, commendations, and honorary degrees. She has taught at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs since 2005 as Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs.
Images: Agri-Business Council, Canadian Broadcast Corporation/Hukomat Khan, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Jens Sondergaard Photography, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, United Nations World Food Programme, World Bank
Intro/Outro: Basspartout, “New Horizons,” AudioJungle.