26-28 August 2014
Professor Catherine Bertini
Senior Fellow, Global Agricultural Development Initiative, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University; Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme (1992-2002)
Professor Bertini is senior fellow at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs where she co-chairs the Global Agricultural Development Initiative. 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.
She is on 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. 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.
In 2012, she served as a member of the Accountability Review Board on Benghazi, appointed by Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Professor Bertini’s leadership of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) transformed WFP into the world’s largest humanitarian organization. As WFP’s Executive Director, first proposed by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, and reendorsed by President Bill Clinton in 1997, Professor 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, and prevent mass starvation in the Horn of Africa. Because of her reforms, WFP was held as the model for UN efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. Professor Bertini was named the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her leadership at WFP in ending famine and decreasing hunger. Later, she 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 and to Gaza and the West Bank.
Professor 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.