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Ertharin Cousin  

Former Executive Director World Food Programme; Payne Distinguished Professor at Stanford University

Ertharin Cousin held her position as the twelfth Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme 2012-2017 and currently teaches at Stanford University's Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Cousin brings more than twenty-five years of national and international non-profit, government, and corporate leadership experience focusing on hunger, food, and resilience strategies. Cousin guides the World Food Programme in meeting urgent food needs while championing longer-term solutions to food insecurity and hunger.

As the leader of the world’s largest humanitarian organization with approximately 14,000 staff serving about 100 million beneficiaries in 75 countries across the world, she is an exceptional advocate for improving the lives of hungry people worldwide, and travels extensively to raise awareness of food insecurity and chronic malnutrition.

In 2009, Cousin was nominated and confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture, and head of the U.S. Mission in Rome.

In January 2012, the U.S. State Department announced that Cousin would become Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme. Cousin was supported in a quote made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in reference to her appointment stating that Cousin "has been central to designing and implementing our country's food security policies. I am confident that she will continue to be a powerful voice in the global fight against hunger and lend her energy, optimism and experience to the World Food Programme."

Cousin began her tenure as the twelfth executive director on April 5, 2012. During her time in office, WFP support focused on the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Syria with its civil war and the Sahel region of Africa.

After leaving WFP, Cousin became the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Distinguished Fellow at the Center on Food Security and the Environment and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.She is also a distinguished fellow of global agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

In 2014, Cousin was ranked number 45th on the Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women and she was named to the TIME 100 most influential people in the world list.

Previously, Cousin served as White House Liaison to the State Department, during which time she was appointed to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Feeding America.

A native of Chicago, Cousin is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Georgia Law School.


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Ertharin Cousin | TIME

As a young girl growing up in a lower-income neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Ertharin Cousin understood from an early age the importance of a ...

Ertharin Cousin - Forbes

Cousin has fed 177 million people since taking the helm of world's largest hunger -fighting organization two years ago. Under Cousin's leadership WFP ...

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