Catherine Bertini

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Catherine Bertini
9th Executive Director of the World Food Programme
In office
April 1992 – March 2002
Preceded by James Ingram (1982-1992)
Succeeded by James T. Morris (2002–2007)
Personal details
Born (1950-03-31) March 31, 1950 (age 72)
United States
Nationality United States
Alma mater University at Albany

Catherine Bertini is an American public servant. She was the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program from 1992 to 2002. Currently, she is a Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University.[1] She is a co-chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Agricultural Development Initiative and Chair of the Council’s Girls in Rural Economies Initiative.[2] She is the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate.

Public policy career

During the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Catherine Bertini served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Family Support Administration in the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Food and Consumer Services at the United States Department of Agriculture. At the USDA, Ms. Bertini created a food package for low income breastfeeding mothers. Initiation of this package correlated directly with increases in the percentage of low income American mothers who breastfed their infants. She also led the interagency efforts to replace food coupons and welfare checks with electronic benefit cards. By 2004, all states had converted to electronic benefit transfer program. At the DHHS, Ms. Bertini was responsible for regulations that strengthened education and training support for the poorest American women.

Executive Director of the World Food Program, United Nations

Ms. Catherine Bertini was appointed in 1992 by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, on the recommendation of President George H.W. Bush. In 1997, she was reappointed with the endorsement of President Bill Clinton, together with that of the Group of 77 developing countries and the Executive Board of WFP.[3]

As chief executive officer of the organization, Ms. Bertini is credited with assisting hundreds of millions of victims of wars and natural disasters throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and parts of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In particular, she was widely praised for her efforts to end famine in North Korea; averting starvation in Afghanistan by delivering enormous amounts of urgently needed food aid in 2001; ensuring the provision of food supplies during the crises in Bosnia and Kosovo; and in 2000, averting the mass starvation that threatened 16 million people in the Horn of Africa.[4] In 1996, The Times of London named her one of "The World's Most Powerful Women."

Bertini also led major efforts to empower poor women through the use of food aid. The institutional changes championed by Bertini during her leadership at the WFP were cited by the 36-government board of WFP as models of U.N. reform. Further, Bertini’s changes placed the food aid agency at the forefront of international agencies in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, and income. In recognition of her leadership at WFP in ending famine and decreasing hunger, Ms. Bertini received the World Food Prize, known as the "Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture" in 2003.[5]

Ms. Bertini also chaired the U.N. System Standing Committee on Nutrition and served as the Secretary General's envoy twice: for drought in the Horn of Africa and for humanitarian needs in Gaza and the West Bank.[6]

Under-Secretary General For Management, United Nations

In 2003, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Ms. Bertini as Under-Secretary for Management.[7] Ms. Bertini was responsible for administering the United Nations’ human, financial and physical resources. This included management of the $3 billion biennial budget, Human Resources to support over 9,000 United Nations staff members, accounting, treasury, contributions; travel and information systems; facilities management and security of UN staff throughout the world. She was also responsible with implementation of the Secretary-General’s management reform initiatives, the Capital Master Plan, and the investment portfolio of the UN Joint System Pension Fund.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

From 2007 to 2009, she served as a Senior Fellow in Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[8] She contributed to the development of the foundation’s agricultural framework, seeking to improve the lives of poor farmers, especially women farmers.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

She is co-chair of the Global Agriculture Development Initiative and chair of the Council's Girls in Rural Economies project.[9] GADI has been an influential voice in US government circles advocating for new priorities for support for poor farmers within international development programs.[10]

State government

Earlier in her career, Ms. Bertini was appointed by Illinois Governor James R. Thompson as a member of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and as a member of the Illinois State Scholarship Commission.[11] In 1982, Bertini was the unsuccessful Republican nominee against Congressman Sidney R. Yates (D) in the 9th District of Illinois.[12] While living in New York State, she ran several public youth employment programs and was a legislative aide in the State Senate and a confidential assistant to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.

Academic career

Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

In the summer of 2005, Ms. Bertini joined the faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She teaches courses in Humanitarian Action, UN Management, Girl’s Education, and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.[13] For one year, she chaired the International Relations Programs.[14] Previously she served as Policy Maker in Residence at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and as a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Private sector career

Ms. Bertini has been a member of the board of directors of the Tupperware Brands Corporation since 2005. Before joining the federal government, she served for ten years in public affairs positions at the Container Corporation of America in Chicago, where she ran its public affairs program, its foundation, and its political action committee.[15]

Associations

Bertini was appointed to the Committee on World Food Security’s High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, serving as the group’s sole U.S. representative. President George W. Bush appointed and President Barack Obama reappointed her to the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development.[16] She also advises USAID as a member of the Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid.[17] She is a board member of the Stuart Family Foundation; a juror of the =Hilton Foundation Humanitarian Prize; and a member of the Advisory Council at Rockefeller College on Public Affairs and Policy and also at the William Jefferson Clinton School of Public Service. She is a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Food Science and Technology.[18]

Bertini is also a member of the Leadership Council of Compact2025, a partnership that develops and disseminates evidence-based advice to politicians and other decision-makers aimed at ending hunger and undernutrition in the coming 10 years, by 2025.[19]

Recent awards

She is the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate and, in 2007, was awarded the Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition.[20] Concern Worldwide U.S. presented her its Brigid Award in 2010.[21] She is also the recipient of the prestigious 2011 Borlaug CAST Communication Award.[22] Ms. Bertini was decorated by the Republic of Italy with its Order of Merit. Eleven universities in four countries have awarded her honorary degrees.[23] The City of Cortland named her one of its "Historic Figures" and Cortland High School placed her photo in its "Hall of Fame."

Background and education

Ms. Bertini was born in Syracuse, New York in 1950. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Albany.[24] At Albany, Ms. Bertini was president of the College Republicans and worked full-time in the last gubernatorial campaign of Nelson A. Rockefeller. She resides in Cortland, New York, where she sometimes plays clarinet in the community band.

Professional affiliations

Honorary degrees

Selected past board service

  • United Nations, Chief Executives’ Board Member and Chair, Management Committee, NY
  • United Nations International School Board of Trustees, Chair, NY
  • Henri Dunant Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, Board Member, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Commodity Credit Corporation, Presidential Appointee, Washington D.C.
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Board Member, Chicago, Il
  • Illinois State Scholarship Commission, Member, Deerfield, Il

References

  1. "Biography". Syracuse University. Retrieved 2009-07-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Biography". The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Biography". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Press Release". United Nations. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Biography". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Press Release". United Nations. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Press Release". United Nations. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Press Release". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Biography". The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Silverstein, Dan (2011-06-14). "The Future of Funding: Development Aid as an Investment". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Biography". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Old Guard Democrats On Watch, But Expect To Keep Congress Posts". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Biography". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Press Release". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Press Release". United Nations. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Press Release". White House. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Press Release". USAID. Retrieved 2011-07-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Biography". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Leadership Council members from the website of the Compact 2025 partnership
  20. "Press Release". The World Food Prize. Retrieved 2011-07-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Honorees". Concern Worldwide. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Press Release". Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Retrieved 2011-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Biography". Syracuse University. Retrieved 2009-07-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Honoree". University at Albany. Retrieved 2011-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Pedro A. Sanchez
World Food Prize
2003
Succeeded by
Jones and Yuan